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Dame Christabel Pankhurst 

Edited hy the Right Honourable 


of Peaslake 

i WEil KHGAL rukt 




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f-,,ee ^ 


HUTCHINSON & CO. (Puilishers) LTD 
tyS -202 Great Portland Street^ London^ W* i 

London Melbourne Sydney 
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© Hutchinson & Co. {Publishers) Ltd. 19^9 

This book has been set in Fournier type face. It has 
been printed in Great Britain by The Anchor PresSy 
Ltdy in TiptreCy EsseXy on Antique JVove paper 
and hound by Taylor Garnett Evans & Co.y Ltd.y in 
Watfordy Herts 


Preface by the Editor 1 1 


Mrs. Pankhurst’s early years and marriage 


Politics — Children — Shopkeeping — The First Sorrow — Back 
to Manchester — Widowhood 


University — Friendships — First Recruit — New Tactics 

4 1905 — MILITANCY 48 

Prison — N.-W. Manchester Election — The Liberal Rally 


London — The Pethick-Lawrences — C.-B.'s Advice to ‘Pester 
People’ — London Police Courts — Cockermouth By-elec- 
tion — Clement’s Inn — Huddersfield 


The Women’s Parliament — Work at Clement’s Inn — The 
Dickinson Bill — Mrs. Pankhurst no longer Re^strar — The 
Women’s Freedom League 


Aberdeen, Mid-Devon and Leeds Elections — Second Women’s 
Parliament — First Albert Hall Meeting — Peckham Election 
— ^Mr. Churchill’s Election Fight — Mr. Asquith’s Challenge 
— Hyde Park Demonstration — Newcastle 



Rushing the House of Commons — Mrs. Baines’ Trial by Jury — 

Mr. Lloyd George’s Message — Women Excluded 

9 1909 119 

Opponents and ‘Postponents’ — Pestering Ministers — Cres- 
cendo ! — Hunger-strike and Stone-throwing — Petitioning 
the Prime Minister — The Men’s Political Union — Gathering 
Storm of Protest — Forcible Feeding — Lady Constance 


10 1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 148 

A Government Pledge — The Conciliation Committee — The 
Conciliation Bill — Procession and Meeting — The Govern- 
ment’s Answer — Hope for the Autumn Session — Black 
Friday — The Battle of Downing Street — Another Pledge — 
Sorrow Comes Again 


Starting a Year of Hope — The Second Reading — Next 
Session Never Comes — A Real Opportunity — Coronation 
and Procession — The Fear of Amendments — Deputation 
and the Consequences — Torpedoed 

12 1912 women’s war 196 

Mr. Hobhouse’s Incitement — Wholesale Glass-breaking — 

Escape — Control from Paris 

13 1912 — CONTINUED 2II 

The State Trial — The Reform Bill — Militancy in Dublin — 

Penal Servitude — Parting with the Pethick-Lawrences 

14 1912-1913 232 

Broken Pledges — Guerilla Warfare 

15 1913 — A NEW SESSION 242 

The Royal Opening — ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act — Second Con- 
spiracy Trial — Holiday and Re-arrest 



Ulster’s Example — ^Anarchy — ‘Raided Again’ — ^Another Con- 
spiracy Trial — Tempering the Steel 


The Nation at War — The W.S.P.U, supports the Govern- 
ment — ^Votes for Women at last! 



Postscript by the Editor 300 

Index 303 


Miss Wallace Dunlop 
George Lansbury 208 

“Charlie” (Charlotte) Marsh 208 

Lady Constance Lytton 208 

Helen Craggs — now Lady Pethick-Lawrence 209 

Mrs. Mansel 209 

Emily Wilding Davison 209 

Jessie Kenney as a messenger boy 209 

Portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst 256 

Arrest of Mary Richardson 257 

Arrest of Grace Roe 257 

Funeral of Emily Wilding Davison 272 

Mrs. Pankhurst’s statue 273 


The status of women in human society has fluctuated strikingly 
during world history. Ancient books tell of Goddesses and Amazons, 
but the halcyon days of Rome were based on complete male supremacy. • 
Shakespeare’s heroines were free women who held their heads high 
and behaved, according to later standards, in a ‘most unladylike’ 
manner. But by the eighteen fifties nearly all the personal rights of 
women had been whittled away and politically they were regarded as 
second-class citizens. John Stuart Mill was not exaggerating when he 
wrote of ‘The Subjection of Women’. 

Of course some individual women had protested, but they were 
ridiculed as freaks and ignored. It was not until well into the second 
half of the nineteenth century that concerted action was taken on 
behalf of their sex by a number of British women of standing and 
character. To this movement a few exceptional men gave their support, 
and after immense initial difficulties real progress was made. Specific 
reforms were carried restoring old rights and conferring new ones. 
Real equality in law between the sexes seemed just round the comer. 

But one essential right had still to be conceded — the right of 
women to choose, alongside of men, the persons who should represent 
them in the House of Commons — ^in a word, the Parliamentary 
Franchise. Even this key reform seemed well within reach by patient 
and persistent advocacy. Already several back-bench M.P.s, either from 
conviction or to ‘please the ladies’, had expressed themselves as favour- 
able to women having the vote. And so it might well have been but for 
one fact. That fact was Mr. Gladstone. This eminent Liberal statesman, 
champion of democracy and progress, the respected leader of the Party 
which inscribed on its banner the slogan ‘No taxation without repre- 
sentation’, would have none of it. 

This was a stunning blow. For, so long as he was in power, no major 
constitutional change had the slightest chance of being carried into law 
against his implacable opposition. But the gallant suffrage veterans 
carried on their campaign, pleading with convincing eloquence. 




Nevertheless the public lost interest. The newspapers ignored the 
question. Politicians put it out of their thoughts. A Conservative 
Government came into power which ‘cared for none of these things’. The 
Boer War intervened, shutting out consideration of domestic issues. 

Then suddenly, with a general election in the offing, a new figure 
appeared on the scene. It was Youth knocking at the door! Intrepid, 
impetuous, arrogant Youth demanding of eminent statesmen justice 
for women! Two young girls not long out of their teens, with no 
money and no influence, challenging the whole might of an immensely 
' popular incoming Government. Could anyone imagine any but one 
issue of this ridiculously unequal contest.^ 

And yet history records that in the end victory did not rest with 
the big battalions. The cause for which the two girls made their protest 
was triumphantly successful. The Party which resisted them, the Party 
which had been up till then the champion of democracy and the pioneer 
of human freedom, is now but the shadow of its former greatness. 

This book is the personal narrative of the epic struggle told by 
Christabel Pankhurst, the elder of the two girls. In it she unfolds with 
remorseless objectivity the successive events of the ten years’ campaign 
in which she and her mother played so predominant a part. But it is 
also an intensely human document which reveals to the discriminating 
reader what manner of woman she was and how it came about that she 
had such an astonishing influence on the men and women of her day. 

In her prime Christabel had a political flair which was a match for 
the most subtle male minds, even for that of the ‘Wizard of Wales’, the 
redoubtable David Lloyd George. She had a passion to free women 
from the stigma of inferiority and saw clearly that the essential pre- 
requisite was the Parliamentary vote. She had a genius for leadership 
which inspired her followers to acts of unbelievable courage. She 
understood in a high degree the importance of publicity and had an 
uncanny instinct for evoking it. 

The strategy of her campaign was based on certain fundamental 
concepts. She knew that ‘deeds speak louder than words’. Words 
could be forgotten or overcome by other words. Deeds were incon- 
trovertible and immortal. Words could be used to explain deeds but 
not as a substitute for them. That was the basis of the suffragette un- 
constitutional activity which proceeded from acts of symbolic illegality 



in the beginning to open rebellion at the end of the campaign. 

She also understood that in politics as in war it is not the rank and 
file but the leader that is the enemy. Therefore she went for the 
Government and not for the back-bench M.P. There was nothing 
unconstitutional about this but it brought her into conflict with the 
leaders of other suffrage societies. 

When Christabel died in California in the early spring of 1958 she 
left no instructions about any book she had written dealing with the 
suffrage campaign. But her Executrix, Miss Grace Roe, had a suspicion 
that some such MS. might be found among her effects. However, after 
going through all her papers in her apartment in Los Angeles, nothing 
was found. Miss Roe then remembered that a mutual friend had a 
number of boxes that once belonged to Christabel and she obtained 
permission to take them away and search them. To her surprise and 
joy on opening one of them she came across, among a quantity of 
valueless material, the typescript of the present book. It had appar- 
ently been written about twenty years previously, and it was to be 
presumed from collateral letters that Christabel intended that it should 
not be published until after her death. 

Grace Roe brought the book with her to England and asked me to 
edit it and see it through the Press, urging me to accept the task on the 
ground of the intimate association of my wife (Emmeline) and myself 
with Christabel for the greater part of the militant campaign. After 
some hesitation, reassured by the high quality of the material and 
recalling the warm esteem which I felt for the author, I accepted Grace’s 

Christabel herself had not selected any title for her book. But 
I found that she had revised the typescript with much care so that 
the text could be sent to the publishers unaltered. Accordingly, 
except for a slightly new subdivision of chapters and the omission 
of a few paragraphs that seemed repetitive the book is reproduced 
exactly as she wrote it. It is public knowledge that in .1912 the con- 
nection of my wife and myself with Christabel and her mother and 
the W.S.P.U. was unhappily severed owing to a disagreement on 
policy. Christabel deals with this quite frankly and I see no occasion 
to comment on what she has written. I have added a short postscript at 
the end of the book to complete the story of the fight for the vote. 



No one reading the p^es of this book, least of all the editor, can 
do so without a feeling of intense admiration for the courage and 
devotion shown by those who made heavy sacrifices for the cause. 
Health and freedom were given up, social ostracism was incurred. 
Each in his or her own way gave of their best — ^men and women, 
militants and constitutionalists. Some only of these have their names 
recorded here. Many more will have no written memorial. But they 
too were faithful in their testimony, and their lives are woven into the 
fabric of human civilization. 



Family History 

Mrs, Pankhurst* s early years and marriage 

M other’s earliest years were spent in the North of England. 

Nothing could have been more bracing and more educative 
for the career that was to be hers. Life, in the North, is seen in 
all its logic. Nature there is sterner; existence is less aesthetic than in 
the South, but there are great compensations. A southern gardener 
values seeds and plants from a northern nursery, and, on the same 
principle, a north-country childhood makes for a certain tenacity in 
face of obstacles and in resistance to counter-attractive side issues. Her 
‘Manchester rigidity’ — as a critic called it, in his despair of inducing 
her to compromise in the height of her Suffrage campaign — ^was one of 
the factors of Mother’s ultimate triumph. 

A great Londoner she was too ! ‘London where everybody wants to 
be* was her word. As a child, ‘to go to London’ was her dream. It was her 
lot, as the leader of a great movement, to come, see and conquer there. 

The industrial North is an effectual school of politics and eco- 
nomics, and Mother fully learnt its lessons. The seamy side of in- 
dustrialism, and the manifold need of reform, appear there in reality. 
Smoke-darkened skies, a mixture of smoke and air to breathe, the 
blotting out of Nature’s green life, colourless streets, mean and even 
insanitary housing, mechanical noise, the monotonous yet precarious 
toil of wage-earners, the premature tearing from school and play of 
children, the anxious life of mothers, too scantily fed to bear strong 
babies, too poor to feed them properly as they grew — these and other 
plagues were rampant in Lancashire when Mother’s days began. 

Her own lot was fortunate enough. Her father, Robert Goulden, 
the owner of a calico-printing and bleach works, who had ascended the 
business ladder from the office to the employer’s sanctum, had bought 




a big house on the outskirts of Manchester, and in its large and lovely 
garden and wide meadows Mother and her nine younger brothers and 
sisters enjoyed the delights of the country. Yet she was near enough 
to the other and poorer half of the world to know how it lived — ^to 
gain an understanding of wrong social conditions and the hardships of 
the working masses that prepared her for the work of her later life. 

Education for women was not, in Mother’s girlhood, so readily 
available as now. Yet they learnt well according to their opportunity 
and they could, if they would, do much reading if books were to hand, 
as in Mother’s home they were. Her father had his well-stocked library 
and belonged to the library of the Athenaeum, where also lectures were 
to be heard. He and his friends discussed in youthful hearing the vital 
issues of the day — politics, economics, home and foreign affairs. He 
loved the arts too. Shakespeare was his by heart, and his strong 
dramatic gift he exercised as an amateur actor in Shakespeare’s plays. 
Mother’s lively intelligence did not, therefore, lack training in this home 
university, apart from careful drilling in the ‘three R’s’, with French, 
history, geography, grammar, and so on, at the ‘ladies school’ nearby. 

Grandmother, bom in the Isle of Man, gave Mother her sea-blue 
eyes, her healthy, finely balanced constitution, her spirited courage, her 
portion of the enterprise that scatters Manx folk far in the world and 
gives them good success in their undertakings. The peaceful, open-air 
life was the best preparation for the exacting and energy-spending life 
in store for her. 

Mother’s later education was in France. Her father went often, on 
business, to Paris. One day, he took with him his eldest daughter 
Emmeline and put her to school there. Contact with the lucid and 
logical French mind was another deep influence in her life. The use of 
the French language, marvellous both as an instrument of thought and 
as a training to think, was educational good-fortune. On another plane, 
but not without its importance, her taste in dress, which always served 
her so well, was developed, if not acquired, in those Paris schooldays. 
The historic significance of Paris was not lost upon her. Her birth, on 
the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, gave her, as a child, a personal 
interest in the Revolution. But she was stirred by nearer happenings, 
for the Franco-Pnissian War, with its attendant disturbance of French 
national life, was not long past, and this gave the English girl a sense of 
living in historic times, and opened up vistas that were invisible in that 
quiet life in the north of our island. 



Without necessarily applauding all the political elements in France, 
Mother deeply loved the French people. In the years to come, the 
French heroine, Joan of Arc, was to be the example held before 
Mother’s Suffrage hosts. Those who really want to know what Mother 
was like, in form and spirit, should go to the Place St. Augustin in 
Paris and look at the Joan of Arc statue there. It is exactly Mother! 

Schooldays ended, Mother went home to take her place as the 
eldest sister in the family of ten boys and girls. A many-sided being 
and highly charged with energy, her activities were numerous. She was 
interested in politics in general and woman suffrage in particular. , 

She plunged into dressing her sisters, into redecorating the draw- 
ing-room, into mothering her baby sister. She took her part with a not 
unmusical family. Her singing voice had something of the quality that 
made her speaking voice so potent with great audiences, even to the 
last of her days. She had, in her young days, as always, a power of 
swift extraction of the essence of a matter. She was feminine to a degree 
in her ability to ‘jump’, as it is called, to a conclusion. Her young days 
were not those of games and much exercise, but she grew up straight 
as a lance and remained so throughout her life, retaining, with a certain 
frailty of look, remarkable health and youthfulness of body. In any 
emergency requiring physical courage, she was always to the fore. To 
put out a fire by tearing down burning window curtains was nothing 
to her, and one could not even imagine a crisis in which she would be 
at a loss. The defect of the sum of her qualities was that she preferred 
to do everything herself and it was by a real and self-denying effort 
that she would entrust a task to any hand but her own. This might not 
tend to the development of other people’s initiative. But the proof that 
Mother did effectively subdue her desire to ‘do it all’ is seen in the 
host of women who enlisted in her suffrage army, and there developed 
power to achieve, of which they had not suspected themselves capable! 
She kindled others; she lit their flame from her own. 

Mother’s after-school life went quietly on in the big countryfied 
house on the edge of the city. The political talk of her father and his 
fnends, and now and again a woman suffrage meeting, were then the 
main food for her interest in public affairs. The round of home life was 
delightfully interrupted by another prolonged stay in Paris. When her 
sister Mary went in her turn to the school in Paris, Mother went too. 
As a ‘parlour boarder’ she was free to spend much time with her school 
friend No^mie Rochefort, who was now the wife of the Swiss painter 



Fr&l^ric Du&ux. Nodmie, as the daughter of the celebrated Henri 
Rochefort, could give her English friend an entrance to the literary 
and political circles of Paris, and introduce her to many of the in- 
teresting personalities of the day. These included, very notably, 
Madame Edmond Adam, the beautiful and gifted woman who had 
played, directly and through her influence, a vital part in French 
politics. When I myself, years afterwards, came to know Madame 
Adam, then an octogenarian, she was still all Are and mental vigour, 
well meriting to be called the grand old lady of France. Deep indeed 
^ must have been the impression she made on Mother in earlier days. 
This whole excursion into the intellectual life of Paris was one of the 
great experiences of Mother’s youth. Her beauty, her Englishness and 
simplicity, made her very attractive} her quickness of sympathy and 
her fluent, pretty French enabled her to fit into this Paris world, and 
she more than half longed to stay there always. Her friend No^mie 
wished it, too, and set herself to Anglo-French matchmaking. They 
would be close neighbours, their children would make one family. 
Each would have her salon. They would queen it in the centre of 
Europe’s thought and action. It was a great dream and No^mie was 
busy in making it come true. Reality depended upon Grandfather, 
away in Manchester. Paternal consent and a dot were essential to this 
ripening marriage project. He would give neither. He did not approve 
of a foreigner for a husband or of or of living abroad, and he 
took his daughter straight home to the nest. 

At the time she must have thought her way narrowed. But her 
aaive temperament would not let her mope in Manchester and, after 
all, her heart had not been engaged. Only one ever won and held it — 
my father. It was simply a wider life she had wanted and always would 

Her ardent nature moved her to desire to do some great thing, and 
yet little seemed possible in those times for a woman. But with what 
zeal did the girls of that time use every small advantage open to them! 
Their example has lessons still for the more outwardly free and 
favoured woman of today. 

The riddle of Mother’s future was not to be long unsolved. Her 
mother and all the children had gone away to their other home at the 
seaside, when the illness of the housekeeper demanded the return of 



Emmeline to keep house for her &ther. During those quiet weeks in 
the summer garden, without too-much-interested brothers and sisters 
about, her future was decided. 

She had already known and gratefully admired Dr. Pankhurst 
as a man of great gifts and learning, who, in company with his seniors, 
John Stuart Mill and Jacob Bright, m.p., the brother of John Bright, 
were pioneers in the support of women’s political enfranchisement. 
Richard Marsden Pankhurst — ‘the Doctor’ as all Manchester affec- 
tionately knew him — was twenty years older than Mother and had been 
in public life since very early manhood. Even in those days, when* 
personality seemed to flourish more than it does now, Dr. Pankhurst’s 
personality was remarkable and outstanding. His intellectual powers 
were remarkable also, his learning was encyclopaedic, and masterly was 
his use of it. He had, added to all this, a sympathetic quality and essence 
of leadership, which put him en rapport with individuals of all classes 
and with the great public. In his chosen profession, the law, his pro- 
found legal learning, his prodigious industry, his appreciation of the 
force of an argument and his personal appeal gave him a great position. 

The same gifts and virtues marked him in political life. Nothing 
stood between him and professional and political fame, but his attach- 
ment to ‘struggling causes’ and his pioneering instinct which moved 
him always in advance of his time. His championship of votes for 
women was the first handicap he put upon himself. He was a Liberal in 
politics, and Mr. Gladstone was then Liberal leader and dispenser of 
favour to brilliant young men. The Liberal Party was always on the 
look-out for such as Richard Marsden Pankhurst — ^the happy pos- 
sessor of a brilliant mind and the magnetic appeal that wins the masses 
and makes the leader of men. The great Gladstone saw and heard this 
gifted young man and Dr. Pankhurst got his chance. He used it to 
plead in the presence of the Liberal leader for the political enfranchise- 
ment of women — z measure to which Mr. Gladstone was most 
bitterly opposed and which he had forbidden his Front Bench 
colleagues to support. 

Gone were young Pankhurst’s prospects of political feme, so far 
as these could be made or marred by the leader of the Liberal Party! 

Pankhurst is a Kentish name, and Father’s femily migrated from 
Kent to Lancashire two generations before his own. In childhood, I 



heard of a family tree going back to de Pencestre and the Normans, and 
Father had unquestionable pride of race. But Mother was not interested 
in the bygone, and both were very much of Robert Bums’ opinion, 
that ‘a man’s a man for a’ that’. 

Father’s brother was to us a legendary ‘Uncle John in America’ 
whither he had adventured in his young manhood. His sisters were 
Aunt Bess, loyal, affectionate and extremely firm, and Aunt Harriette, 
so noble and lovable that Mother, after her marriage, would have liked 
her to spend her remaining days, which as it proved were not to be 
. many, under her roof. Aunt Harriette, as Father’s much elder sister, 
had been his guide and confidante, rejoicing in his success at school, at 
Owen’s College (Viaoria University) and London University, of 
which he became Doctor of Laws and gold medallist. Oxford was his 
desire, but by that time he had left the Church of England to become a 
Nonconformist and this then debarred him from Oxford. 

The social problem was acute in the Industrial England of Father’s 
younger days. The Reform Act of 1870 had not then borne its fruit of 
popular education and increasing heed of working-class interests. 
Father was all on the side of the unconsidered millions who, if they 
gained something, also suffered much under the earlier industrialism. 
So long ago as his first campaign as a Parliamentary candidate, he anti- 
cipated the modem movement towards collaboration in industry. 

The cause of Intematibnal Peace was also among his foremost 
preoccupations and he took an active share in the Peace societies and 
Congresses of those days. He was no Little Englander! Even we chil- 
dren were made to feel this, for he enjoined upon us a sound respect for 
the British power and place in the world. His political extremism, as 
it was then regarded, centred in his ardent championship of the 
working classes. His confidence in democracy was complete and 
characteristic of his day and generation. 

From his very yotmg days, to the end, he laboured with an intense 
local patriotism, not always found in men of his wider interests, for 
Manchester’s good. In the woman’s cause he was a pioneer. He it was 
who drafted the two successive Married Women’s Property Acts and 
largely provided the zeal and driving force that kept these measures to 
the fore and got them through. 

Dr. Pankhurst it was, again, who, with Lord Coleridge, argued the 
case of the women who claimed to be ‘persons’ within the meaning of 
the Reform Act of 1867 and to have the right to vote in Parliamentary 



elections. He it was who drafted the woman suffrage Bill to redress 
the injustice done by the judical decision that women were not ^persons^ 
for the purpose of voting. The Bill, which was introduced into Parlia- 
ment in 1870 and carried through its second reading, was blocked by 
Mr. Gladstone. 

Father had resolved to remain unmarried for the sake of his public 
work. He held to his resolve until, at forty years old, he fell in love with 
Mother. He found in her the woman who shared all his own thought 
and feeling about life, a helpmeet as idealistic and self-regardless as he 
was. They were made for one another. « 

Mother was no revolutionary in her views of marriage. She wished 
to try no new experiments. On the wedding eve, as they parted in 
happy anticipation of the morrow, it was to hear him tell her again how 
unendingly he loved her and should ever love her. He seemed to her 
so wise and wonderful in comparison with her own youth and smaller 
knowledge. ‘Are you sure you will always love me and want me for 
ever.^" she said. ‘Wouldn’t you have liked to try first how we should 
get on?’ It is easy to imagine how tenderly he smiled and how com- 
pletely he satisfied her wish to hear him say, yet once again, all that 
the morrow’s marriage meant and always would mean to him. 

I have all his letters written during their acquaintance and short 
engagement. The first dated 8th September begins: 

Dear Miss Goulden, 

There is, as you know, now in action an important move- 
ment for the higher education of women. As one of the party of 
progress, you must be interested in this. I have much considered the 
subject and sought to frame a scheme for making such education as real 
and efficient as possible. . . . 

By 23rd September it is: 

Dearest Treasure, 

I received with greatest joy your charming likeness (sent with 
too few words). The Carte itself has honestly tried to express you as you 
are, but of course it could not. The fire and soul of the original can 
never consent to enter a copy. Still, when the original is ab^nt, the 
copy consoles and animat"^. 

Theirs was never a self-absorbing love: 



In all my happiness with you ptie wrote], I feel most deeply the 
responsibilities that are gathering round us. . . . Every struggling cause 
shall be ours. ... So living, we even in the present enter, as it were, by 
inspiration into the good time yet far away and something of its morning 
glow touches our foreheads, or ever it is, by the many, even so much as 
dreamt of. 

Looking to the social service they might render together, he wrote; 

Help me in this in the future, unceasingly. Herein is the strength — 
with bliss added — of two lives made one by that love which seeks more 
the other than self. How I long and yearn to have all this shared to the 
full between us in equal measure! . . . 

A shadow falls on their happiness. Father’s mother is ill, and dies. 
The quiet wedding was hastened because of his loneliness and sorrow. 
Mother naturally would have liked, as do other young brides, the 
ceremonial and festivity usually belonging to such a day. She would 
have looked lovely in full bridal array, her dark hair, blue eyes, clear, 
slightly olive skin with the little flush that came in moments of 
emotion. Four pretty younger sisters, from babyhood upward, would 
have made half her bridal retinue. But the lonely one could not be 
kept waiting. 

‘It is only a few brief hours,’ he wrote, ‘that separate us from that 
oneness of life which ought, which will, hold for us an existence of 
joyous love.’ 


The Years of Preparation 

Politics — Children — Shopkeeping — The First Sorrow — 

Back to Manchester — Widowhood • 

M other’s career began with her marriage. This admitted her 
to a share in the political activities of her husband and so 
exercised and developed her own innate powers. 

Father’s people and his many friends, more ambitious for him than 
he was for himself, had hoped that this young and beautiful wife, with 
her magnetism and charm, would cause him to steer a new and worldly 
wiser course towards the legal and political heights they foresaw for 
him. Mother was, however, determined not to be a hindrance to his 
political freedom of thought and action. Besides, she was as much of 
an idealist as he! 

Her ambition for him was that he should do great things for the 
people, to deliver them from poverty and bad housing and overwork, 
and that he should work for the cause of international peace. She 
would not have his wings, as reformer and champion of great causes, 
clipped or weighted by her — indeed she desired him to soar higher 
than ever. She was oversensitive lest his marriage to her be a weight 
upon him. The economic independence of married women was then a 
great matter with the woman suffragists. Many of them were married to 
prosperous men or were interested in the case of those who were. The 
new industrial aristocracy were not given to marriage settlements and 
dowries, as were the landed aristocracy, and the law relating even to a 
wife’s own property was not yet finally amended. A ridi man’s wife 
could be made to feel gallingly dependent. 

Mother had hoped and thought she would be dowered by her 
father. When this did not nmterialize, she was greatly disappointed, as 
she had wanted in everything to take her part in furthering the great 
reforming mission in which she was now partner with her husband. 




Those were not days when a barrister could, with professional 
impunity, declare advanced political opinions. Mother, in her youthful 
enthusiasm, was spurring Father on in his political course, urging 
him to challenge the social and economic dragons in the people’s path. 
Nowadays extreme Socialists can make fortunes at the Bar; the ex- 
tremity of their views merely lends piquancy to their professional ex- 
ploits and in no way detracts from their prosperity. But in Father’s day 
it was not so. Bang went briefs every time he made a political move. 
His championship of woman suffrage was the action that counted most 
.against him, especially when he began it, in the i86os. The cause was 
ridiculed then, as indeed it was, even if in decreased measure, until 
women’s militancy struck the smile from the face of the scoffers. In 
his attitude towards the cause of women and of the working class. 
Father was long before his time and paid the penalty. Mother, seeing 
this, longed passionately to be able to bear a share in the financial 
sense. She wanted her husband in Parliament, where she believed he 
could do great things for the working masses. She cherished a project 
of one day, by her own effort, setting him free to devote himself 
wholly to public work. 

Her thoughts were, of course, not all of politics. She had all the 
happiness and interest of her new life to occupy her. She had 
her children. Pretty names were indispensable for girls. Father 
maintained. Christabel he chose for his first child, suggested by 
Coleridge’s poem, ‘the lovely lady Christabel whom her father 
loves so weir. For Sylvia he used to make a play on the Latin 
words it suggested and call her Miss Woody Way. Adela was the 
third daughter and fourth child. His son and third child was Francis 
Henry — ‘Frank’. 

Father’s first election campaign — as an Independent Liberal — ^was 
for undivided Manchester, before the passage of the Corrupt Practices 
Act, which limited election expenses and forbade canvassing for pay. 
This handicap upon an independent candidature was fatal in such a 
vast constituency. Moreover, as an independent candidate he lacked 
party machinery for the campaign. 

Father’s next fight was in London at Rotherhithe. There the Irish 
vote defeated him, for it was cast against all Liberal candidates, at that 
election, in order to force the Liberal leaders to grant Home Rule for 

Mother, now rather more free of maternal cares, entered into the 


Rotherhithe campaign. Even before he was able to begin his cam- 
paign, she was in the held. 

Father would have been better advised to try a Northern con- 
stituency, but Mother, perhaps, was reckoning that she could more 
easily play the candidate’s wife, and later the Member’s wife, if Father’s 
constituency could be within hail of the House of Commons. A §eat in 
Parliament was her first wish for him, that he might take the place in 
national affairs that she thought his due. 

He was beaten at Rotherhithe. The House of Commons was never 
to know his presence — yet no man has ever more powerfully in- , 
fluenced its action, for his wife was the first to acknowledge the strength 
she drew from his political instruction and example. 

They decided to migrate to London, where Father’s profession and 
politics were taking him increasingly. Mother had a great plan of her 
own to fulfil in London. Father would say, half whimsically, that he 
wished he were an East India tea merchant or something which would 
not mean conflict between purse and politics. 

This talk must have given Mother her plan. Amateur shopkeeping 
must have been a fashion just then. It sounded such a good idea. You 
bought lovely silks, pottery, lampshades and the like for so much, and 
you sold them for so much more and there you had a useful profit I 
The difference between profit gross and profit net and the hard facts of 
overhead expenses were attractively veiled in the rosy clouds of hope. 
Mother, in her young hopefulness, saw nothing but the profit she 
would make. All that earnestness, that force of will which, in later days, 
developed, disciplined, directed to a lofty objective, won votes for 
women, were, in her inexperience, concentrated upon the shop she 
would start in that great London. In Manchester it would then have been 
indiscreet for a barrister’s wife to do such a thing. But in London it 
would be different. With a shop she would lay the financial foundation 
of a great movement of social and industrial reform and, of course, the 
enfranchisement of women. She could think of nothing more pro- 
pitious, for women were not trained to careers in those days, and if 
they had been, there were so few careers to be trained for ! 

She went to London, to find the shop and to get her stock. Rents 
gave her the first shock. Her mother must have dealt with Shoolbred’s, 
the great store now no more, but once a household word. She 
gravitated to the Shoolbred region and took not far away, in 
what she deemed a situation of great business promise, a shop and its 



surmounting floors. It was most impracticable and rather like a story 
book, but she was all confidence and enthusiasm. She went then to 
choose her stock — a thrilling task. Her venture, ‘Emerson & Co.’, 
was launched. She moved in a radiant daydream. 

At last came the great removal. . . . Father and Mother and four 
children and Susan, our nurse. 

Mother plunged into the new interests of business, but not to the 
exclusion of woman suffrage and other political activities. 

On her marriage she had been invited to join Father on the 
Manchester Committee for Woman Suffrage of which Lydia Becker 
was a moving spirit. Miss Becker’s gift of strategy was remarkable, and 
if the woman’s vote could have been peaceably gained, her statecraft 
would have won it. But to get the vote, without having the vote, was 
impossible by peaceful persuasion. To get the vote you had to have the 
vote or find some substitute enabling you to compel those who would 
deny you the vote to yield. 

Mother was happy in London. The realization of her aim for 
Father and of their joint career seemed one step nearer. There were 
new friendships, new interests, new tasks. We children entered more 
and more, as time went on, into the spirit of it all. 

Mother’s sister Mary, her great ally in all those years, had joined 
her in the new home. A very important person was this beloved Aunt 
Mary, deputy-mothering us, whenever needful, sharing our parents’ 
aspirations and ideals. In the later strenuous times that led to the final 
Suffrage victory, Aunt Mary, gentle and selfless as ever, yet brave as a 
lion — and wonderfully eloquent too — ^was by Mother’s side, until her 
life of devotion suddenly ended, a day after her release from political 

As time went on Aunt Ada, too, used to appear for fleeting visits, 
on her way to foreign lands. She had her own career — a greater rarity 
in those days than now. Her sunshiny personality made each of her 
visits an event to us. Father went back and forth, for his cases wouiJ 
be in Manchester, just when we had come to London. He was lonely 
often, but hopeful always, saying in his letters: ‘We ought to feel that 
we are going through a preparing trial. So much is going on, in which 
we ought to have a part.’ Another letter: ‘The time will come when 
more earnestness in politics will be vital to the State.’ 


Mother felt a pang of doubt as to her great shopkeeping plan’s 
success. He reassured her; ‘Do not be anxious, no fears — only calm and 
still peace and hope with white wings.’ His philosophy of political life 
is here: ‘For nearly thirty years, day in, day out, in agonies and waiting, 

I have held to two principles — ^keep down private interests; work for 
great public ends.’ 

The new, changed world was the goal. Mother herself was ever 
urging him on to unworldly and unprofitable political doings. His 
admiring love for her was always growing: ‘You Imow how I love you 
and want to cherish your life. How splendid you were on Saturday — ^ 
in all that unconscious loveliness! Dear heart, I hold you to mine!’ 
Thus he writes to her after nine years of marriage. 

Then a blow falls. Frank was ill. He had croup, so we children 
were told, and so it was thought, but it was really diphtheria. Mother 
had gone to Manchester to be with Father, who was acting in a big 
inquiry. She rushed home. Our doctor was away. Frank quickly got 
worse. Mother, Aunt Mary and Susan looked afraid and we caught 
their fear. Father couldn’t leave the inquiry. He was in agony about 
Frank. Two strange doctors saw him. Then our own doctor came. 
Eight-year-old I stood alone on the stairs, hoping he would bring a 
cure. The tall man came alone out of the room, kind and sad. Someone 
very little, but very great, was going out of the world. If he could 
have done anything, he had come too late. Mother’s child was gone, 
and such a child! He had in him the best of both parents. He would 
have been a remarkable man. It was her first acquaintance with death. 
Father got the news in the midst of his case and could not get free 
till it ended. Fatherhood that begins in ripe years is doubly serious and 
Frank was his heart’s core. The grief remained with him always and 
seemed to give him new tenderness for the children that remained. 
Frank’s death was the first and the one real sorrow that came to Father 
and Mother in their years of marriage. 

Inquiry found defective drains and we were hurried to Richmond, 
while house-hvmting resulted in removal to Russell Square, to a house 
at the comer where the hotel now stands. Mother, with business hopes 
that nothing would daunt aid that were now reviving, removed her 
shop to a more propitious address in Berners Street. 

Mother’s business efforts were all part of the experience that 



prepared her for the historic campaign of her later years. That continued 
struggle, the cares she brought upon herself and then faced so gal- 
lantly in this attempt to make money for public service, were all a 
discipline and a training. 

In point of fact, we should have been far better off without the 
business, which was a constant drain upon Father’s income. This, 
added to all he spent on public appeals and movements and the per- 
petual good turns he was doing to other people, really created what 
Mother was trying to cure. Yet she went on, and he sustained her, in 
, earnest devotion and as part of her contribution to the common cause. 
Politics at the same time held much of her attention — perhaps too 
much for the good of the business. 

The youngest child, a boy, was born in the new house. To his 
parents it seemed almost as though the one who had gone had been 
given back to them. They called this second son by the names, in 
different order, of their first son. This new baby, a fine, strong child, 
nearly cost Mother her life. She was doing well, it seemed; then severe 
haemorrhage set in. Again her own doctor, not the same one, was 
out of reach. Mother was dying. We children were herded beyond 
hearing to the basement kitchen. Aunt Mary came down, pale with 
dread, to be assailed with questions about a possibly ailing pet. Mean- 
time, our faithful nurse, Susan, was running through the streets, with 
cap-strings flying, to find any doctor who could come in time. Tele- 
phones were not handy then and she did not think of a cab. There were 
doctors nearby, but it was not their patient — they must not interfere. 
However, by the passion of her cry: ‘My mistress is dying,’ she tore 
one from his breakfast table and saved Mother’s life. To this day I 
draw breaths of relief — of thankfulness — that she was spared to us 

Politics interested us and we children were playing election games 
at an early age. The oldest of us were now and again allowed, to our 
pleasure, to attend meetings, especially when these took place at home. 
The big double drawing-room housed a considerable company, and 
meetings and conferences would be held there on peace and arbi- 
tration, industrial and social questions and, of course, on wo ma n 

One visitor and speaker at these meetings was Mr. Hodgson Pratt, 
a great friend of Father’s, a notable worker for international peace, 
whose portrait hangs beside Mother’s in the National Portrait Gallery. 



A supporter of woman suffrage, Mr. R. B. Haldane, m.p. (later Viscount 
Haldane), used to speak at our house too and he was the great Parlia- 
mentary hope of the Women’s Franchise League, until Mother and 
Mrs. Jacob Bright, in earnest conversation with him about a Woman 
Suffrage Bill, found that he envisaged no early enactment of it! Mr. 
James Bryce, afterwards Lord Bryce, British Ar^assador in the United 
States, was another frequenter of these gatherings. The ever-true 
friend Mr. Jacob Bright, m.p., who was at the opposite pole from his 
anti-suffragist brother, John Bright, came often, with his brilliant 

A strong affection united the Jacob Brights and my parents, and 
Mrs. Bright, who was several years older than Mother, had an almost 
maternal love for her. A frequent visitor and speaker was Mrs. Scat- 
cherd, from Yorkshire, a great nursery favourite. 

In our ‘Home News’ we chronicled suffrage receptions at which 
‘Mrs. Pankhurst looked elegant in a trained velvet gown’, the ‘Misses 
Pankhurst wore white crepe dresses with worked yokes’ and ‘the re- 
freshments were delicious, the strawberries and cream being especially 
so’. An eleven-year-old’s impression of one gathering was this: ‘Mrs. 
Pankhurst held an At Home at her beautiful house on May a8th. 
There was a great number of people there. Dr. Pankhurst, as Chair- 
man, said in his speech that if the suffrage was not given to women, the 
result would be terrible. If a body was half of it bound, how was it to 
be expected that it would grow and develop properly. This body was 
the human race and the fettered half, women. He then, with many 
compliments, called upon Mrs. Fenwick Miller to speak. Mrs. Fenwick 
Miller spoke of the attitude of the political leaders and the growing 
power of the Women’s Franchise League. Some opponents tried to 
prove that women were naturally inferior to men, but our girls won 
degrees and honours at the Universities. Mrs. Pankhurst wore a black 
sort of grenadine with train from shoulders, and looked very handsome 

Mrs. Cady Stanton, the woman suffrage pioneer from America, 
was a speaker who greatly interested us. Her daughter, Mrs. Stanton 
Blatch, was the wife of an Englishman, and already a friend. Mrs. Cady 
Stanton was one of a remarkable trio of anti-slavery pioneers whose 
zeal for freedom moved them to claim not only liberation for slaves, 
but also political enfranchisement for their own sex. The others of 
the trio were Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony. Marble busts of 



these three great women, the work of a woman, are now in the Capitol 
of Washington. 

Mrs. Stanton Blatch has written about those days: 

You ask for my impressions of your mother and father in my 
English days, and something about your mother’s doings in America in 
the militant time. 

Your mother was a living flame. As active as a bit of quicksilver, as 
glistening, as enticing. Emmeline Pankhurst was very beautiful. She 
looked like the model of Burne-Jones’ pictures — slender, willowy, with 
the exquisite features of one of the saints of the great impressionist. Later 
on, I met at the Moncure D. Conway’s the real model, Mrs. William 
Morris, and said to a fellow guest, ‘How like Mrs. Pankhurst!’ 

One glorious summer day when my mother, Mrs. Cady Stanton, was 
visiting me. Dr. and Mrs. Pankhurst came down to Basingstoke to meet 
the American suflFrage crusader. We had a wonderful walk on the terrace 
after luncheon. My mother was deeply impressed by our guests. She 
often referred afterwards to your father’s learning and modesty and to 
your mother’s vitality. That quality deeply impressed her, and she 
seemed to associate the gift of leadership with it. 

To the end of my sojourn in England at the opening of the nineteen 
hundreds, your mother and I were associated. We parted, not to meet 
again until 1907 when we were both launched on militant suffrage cam- 
paigns, she in England and I in the State of New York. 

Life in those days was not all politics. There were hours given to 
music-making. As those who heard her voice in speeches will suppose. 
Mother had a moving contralto voice. Father hardly knew one tune 
from the other — but he loved to hear his wife sing. We children would 
be admitted to the drawing-room for a while, and even after banish- 
ment to bed we could still hear the music through open doors and fall 
asleep listening. 

Time passed; our parents wearied of the frequent separation, and 
the strain of business, which did not fulfil her grand hope, was telling 
upon Mother. They decided that the enterprise must be wound up and 
the home transferred to Manchester. Looking back, one can see how 
wise this was. It prepared for Mother’s future conquering return to 
the capital. Her ends were shaped, had she foreknown it. To return 
to Manchester was to reader pour mietix sauter^ 



There was much present gain. The lonely days at least were at an 
end. They had been spending irrecoverable years and losing too much 
present happiness in their hope of the future achievement. Father had 
realized this the more, because of his greater age, and had the more 
deplored every day passed apart from her. Any change was welcome 
to child minds, but still more welcome was the news that we were to 
live for a while at Southport. The seaside summed up all joys of life 
for us. 

The most reposeful time of Mother’s life was this Southport ex- 
perience (excepting, it may be, a year spent long afterwards in Ber- 
muda). There were no household, business, or political cares. Yet her 
active spirit was perhaps not wholly content and she looked forward 
to renewed occupation. Manchester was before us as our goal, but we 
reached it by way of a country place on the borders of Cheshire and 
Derbyshire, where we spent a sununer. 

Now came the move to Manchester. Our children’s hearts were 
heavy at the prospect of life in the city, but we were wonderfully 
happy when we got there. We could see more than ever before of our 
parents, and, older now, could enter more fully into their life and 
interests, and appreciate their ideas and ideals. 

We were entered at the Manchester High School for Girls, a large 
and, in comparison to our home schoolroom and the Southport 
School, at first rather formidable edifice. We never went to a boarding 
school and never wanted to, if only because it would have meant 
. missing too much of Father and Mother. The attraction of two such 
personalities, and all the political and other interests and activities that 
centred in them, made home seem preferable to any school at a distance. 

The picture now in my mind of those Manchester days is of the 
library, with flowered gold-and-brown paper and booklined walls. 
Mother reading, writing or sewing at one side of the big, glowing fire. 
Father at the other side, deep in a book. He stretches out his fine 
sensitive hand, now and again, to show that he is thinking of us all 
and enjoying our companionship. We schoolchildren had leave to do 
our homework at the big table and suddenly one or another would 
ask: ‘Father, what is such and such.^’ or ‘Who was so and so.^’ He was 
roused at once. Books were taken from the shelves, references and 
authorities were shown. The subject was illumined in all its ramifica- 

Those Manchester days saw our parents turning towards the 



Labour movement. The Labour leaders, who in time became national 
figures, came to the house. Some were of the bourgeoisie and privileged 
in education; among these were women as well as men. Others were 
proletarians, largely self-educated, and among these were few, if any, 
women. It seemed very difficult for working women to overcome the 
handicap of poverty, and the domestic cares which fettered them. 
Being voteless, they lacked prestige, whereas the women of higher 
social rank and more education had, in a mainly working-class milieu, 
a sort of relative equality. Mother regretted the disadvantages suffered 
by the working women, but she hoped that the developing Labour 
movement would charge itself with getting votes for women. In this 
movement she hoped there might be the means of righting every 
political and social wrong. Father, too, hoped that this growing party 
might succeed in ways where the old parties had failed. Even more 
perhaps than in its principles, he had hope in its personnel. The 
common people, to Feather’s generation, seemed almost, if not quite, 
a different creation. Some reckoned them innately inferior. Others, of 
whom Father was one, were tempted to think them, or at least hope 
them to be, possessed of an innate quality which would enable them, 
were they once free and powerful enough, to reform the world and 
its ways. He idealized them, as did Mother. The younger generation, 
speaking for myself, at any rate, who regarded all sorts and conditions 
of men and women just as persons and not in terms of class, could see 
no essential difference between working people and anyone else! 

Mother wanted definitely to join the new movement. So did 
Father, but he hesitated, for his past experience and his daily touch 
with his fellow bwyers, with city councillors, business men, and 
others told him that trouble would come if he did so. Sympathy might 
be given from outside; identification would be a different and a serious 
thing. He questioned whether he had ‘life and strength left to fight the 
position’. But he could never lag behind his conviction. He nailed 
his colours to the mast. Gallant as ever, he held his head high and faced 
the new storm that broke upon him as the first man of his sort and 
standing in the city, perhaps in the whole country, to join the Labour 

Mother’s independent public service began about this tinM, when 
she was elected, imder Labour auspices, a Poor Law Guardian for 
Chorlton upon Medlock, a district comprising a large and important 
part of the city. She had great happiness in her work as a Guardian 



of the Poor, and she was from first to last on the friendliest terms with 
her colleagues on the Board. She was, of course, full of reforming zeal 
and relieved to find no resistance from ofHcialdom; indeed the Clerk 
to the Guardians, Mr. Bloomfield, was ever ready to facilitate reform, 
and the same spirit was general among the officials. Many of the 
changes suggested or aided by Mother were matters of sheer common- 
sense and better housekeeping. Over and over again, they proved the 
benefit of the woman’s point of view in the care of the young, the 
old, the sick, and the afflicted. Later, Mother, having observed the 
plight of the aged poor, in their ‘old-age imprisonment’, rejoiced for 
their sake at the all too long delayed establishment of Old Age Pen- 
sions, the best action of Mr. Lloyd George and the Liberal Govern- 
ment. She played a pioneer part in the establishment of cottage homes 
for children. At the national conference of Guardians, she read papers 
on the Poor Law and its administration. It was always with pride that 
she recalled that Queen Elizabeth I had initiated it. She was author of 
an important paper on the duties of Poor Law Guardians in times of 
unemployment, in which she suggested, among other plans, the em- 
ployment of workless men in coastal reclamation and like projects of 
national improvement. If her point of view had received consideration, 
then and later, there would have been not f7nemployment Insurance 
but Employment Insurance. ... 

A stand for Free Speech in suitable open-air spaces was another 
of Mother’s concerns at that period. Meetings in Boggart Hole Clough, 
a large natural park, was the scene of action. There Mother, with the 
Labour elements, persisted in holding the meetings they had an- 
nounced. Legal proceedings were taken, however, and there were even 
some imprisonments, though not of Mother herself, as her fine was 
paid. The right of public meeting in Boggart Hole Clough was not 
thereafter challenged. 

In those days, as now, though in a minor degree, unemployment 
could become acute, and one cold winter the number of workless and 
hungry folk in the city made a positive crisis. Mother threw herself 
into the task of feeding them. Soup was provided in Stevenson Square, 
and thither came the foodless, bringing basins and jugs to be filled. 
Mother went to the market day after day, to plead for meat and bones 
and vegetables to be put into the cauldrons, and her appeals were 
firuitftil. Mass service and mass generosity did not, however, represent 
the whole of Mother’s givii^. To individuals she was always ready 



to lend a helping hand. In later years she continued, alone, the adop- 
tion of a band of children, long after the organization that had first 
m ai nt a i n ed them was disbanded. This is but one of the kindnesses 
done to individuals during the course of her life. 

But while eager to relieve distress. Mother sought always to strike 
at its source and to find the prevention that would make cure needless. 
Prompt, and more than prompt, in action as she was, she wearied of 
what she deemed the slow pace of established political parties. Hence 
it was that she turned to the Labour elements with hope that through 
them the grim problem of poverty might be solved. Later, however, 
she was to decide that, in order to gain the political power of the vote, 
it was needful for women to act independently of the men’s political 

Dr. Pankhurst was invited, and consented, to be Labour Candidate 
for West Gorton, a working-class district of Manchester. He and 
Mother devoted their best energies to the campaign. We younger folk 
did what we could. Father, with his experience and his long devotion 
to the public interest, would have brought the case of the industrial 
North before Parliament with a rare appeal and power. He was de- 
feated. He took the defeat with his head up. If he thought that his costly 
espousal of the Labour movement had gone for little, he never said it. 
He went on helping them, satisfied to have abided by his life’s prin- 
ciple — down with private interest, up with the public cause. 

We were very happy in our private family life. Those were the 
best of all the years. If politics and movements did mean forgoing 
some things that other people’s children had, those other children had 
not our Father and Mother, our interesting life. Our lot contented us; 
we were proud of it. 

Father sparkled for us as much as — or more than — for his friends. 
His courtesy in his home was complete and his loving ways invariable. 
Mother was queen — ‘Where’s my lady?’ was always his first word. 
Some of the poor people took to calling her Lady Pankhurst with a 
vague idea that this must be her title. He never in our hearing addressed 
her by her first name, but always by some word of endeanaoit. I 
remember no rebukes or punishments from him, so they must have 
been rare, if any. At the same time, one felt how stem might have 
been his view of insubordinate conduct. 



Only his wife knew all Father’s regret that he could not give more 
effect to his ideals, could not do more to overthrow the social evils 
which men of all ranks and parties now are openly condemning and 

So sped the years until Father and Mother judged the moment 
come to fulfil a pledge and projert of her Paris schooldays. She and 
No^mie Rochefort had then agreed that if ever they should marry 
and have daughters, these should stay in the home of the other to 
learn French or English language and ways, as the case might be. 
Accordingly I, as eldest daughter, was now to stay with Madame _ 
Rochefort-Dufaux, who by this time had settled in Geneva. Mother 
was to take me to Geneva, stay a little while and leave me there. She 
was all joy at the thought of spending some weeks with her friend, 
whom she had seen only on rare occasions during their married life. 

The Geneva prospect was pleasant enough to me also, except that 
it meant a final, irrevocable ‘growing up’. Mother had looked forward 
to sharing with me her love for Paris. I fear that I did not altogether 
rise to the heights desired, for she wrote to Father: ‘Christabel takes 
it all with her usual calm.’ In later years I was to make up for this and 
to feel the same admiration and affection for the city. Lovely days 
followed, sitting in the garden, bathing, motoring — ^motor-cars were 
more of a rarity then — ^and voyaging on the Lake by steamer or row- 

If only Father could have been there, all would have been perfect. 
It was a long time since Mother and he had been thus parted. Nineteen 
years, nearly, they had been married, but his letters were more love 
letters than at the beginning. ‘When you return, we will have a new 
honeymoon and reconsecrate each to the other in unity of heart. Be 
happy. Love and love. Your husband, R. M. Pankhurst.’ 

So he wrote in his last letter — ^his parting word to her. It was tea- 
time in the garden at Corsier at the height of the holiday when the 
bolt fell. ‘Father ill. Come’ said the telegram. Mother was off by the 
first train, leaving me behind ... to Paris, London, into the Manchester 
train. There she read, in the evening paper: ‘Dr. Pankhurst dead.’ 

It was the collapse of our happy life, of our world as it had been. 
Sylvia, poor Sylvia, had met the shock alone. Only fifteen, knowing so 
little of sickness and death, slie had been in sole command with no 
one at hand older than herself, except the servants, when the adored 
fiither was taken ill, and the ‘gastric neuralgia’ that had now and again 



troubled him suddenly proved a gastric ulcer. This rapid illness left 
everyone helpless. The responsibility, the shock, were terrible for her. 
To Mother’s grief for her husband was added anxiety for her daughter. 

Manchester felt the loss of her great citizen, her well-loved Doctor, 
‘one of the most high-minded and self-sacrificing public men,’ said 
the newspapers, ‘that Manchester has produced’. Often to this day I 
meet in Canada and the United States men and women who tell me: 
‘I knew your dear father ... I remember Dr. Pankhurst. ... He 
taught me in his Sunday School class when I was a boy. ... I heard 
him lecture. ... I voted for him when he was a candidate for Par- 

Knowledge of what was happening at home came to me only by 
letter, for by Mother’s wish I remained in Switzerland waiting to hear 
what she wished me to do. I have found a few of my letters among her 
papers, and in one of them is this: ‘I often think of the last thing that 
Father said to me. “Be nice to her; she will feel it at first”, meaning 
that you would feel leaving him, and the other three. Dear darling, he 
did not know. . . .’ 

Sympathy came to Mother from every side. ‘Your sorrow is 
shared by thousands,’ said one of the city’s leading men. 

She had now to face the practical exigencies of life. The course that 
Father and she had taken through the years, the expense of serving 
the public interest, of supporting reform movements and latterly 
joining the Labour Party, which Mother had herself so strongly urged, 
meant that, now suddenly and unexpectedly widowed, she had to 
maintain herself and her children. I remember how Father used to 
talk of education — ^youthful freedom from care, to be prolonged, until 
twenty-five years of age, when it would be best to marry or embark 
on a profession, or both. Now he had suddenly gone and we were all 
minors still. We had our patrimony though — ^which we did, and 
always would, treasure in our memory of him. Today, I read in the 
newspapers a compassionate and admiring tribute to lawyers who, 
by accepting political place and emoluments as Cabinet Ministers, 
forgo, during their term of office, ‘anything between thirty to fifty 
thousand pounds a year’. It reminds me of all that Father sacrificed in 
his life-long subordination of private to public interest. For he was 
the equal of any of them, a jurist as great, an advocate as brilliant and 
persuasive. Reviewing the past and the choice he made for himself 
and for us I again endorse his choice. Mother had, jointly with him. 



made that choice, and she never went back on it, even in her early 
widowhood, when difficulty closed in on her, nor in her later years, 
after the triumphant end of her main life’s work. Their children never 
questioned their course. If we had to choose between the two sorts of 
patrimony, then, in spite of everything, we preferred the one we had. 
Money could never have bought it or replaced it. 

Mother, faced by her new and sudden responsibility, thought of 
a business to be launched with her available resources and conducted 
with her former experience. Indeed she could think of nothing else to 
do. ‘You are so clever,’ I wrote to her, ‘that it seems strange that there^ 
is not something more suited to you.’ For all her gifts and powers, she 
had never been trained for a definite career and there were so few 
careers open to women in those pre-suffrage days. Mother had now to 
fulfil a man’s responsibilities in a world that wholly underrated the 
economic value of its political outlaws, women. 

Advice she might have obtained from many at that time, when 
mourning for Father and sympathy with her were at their height. I 
have found among the letters of condolence which she kept one telling 
her that ‘an eminent lawyer has given me to understand that the Bar 
would go to great lengths to defend from any serious mischief the 
family of one of its chief ornaments’. But then, as always, she was 
sensitive, shy, proud concerning her personal and private concerns, 
and her strong, self-reliant nature made her all the more reserved in 
discussing her plans. Some solid acknowledgment was suggested as 
a return for Father’s manifold services to the public. Mother checked 
this, on some word that came to her notice and that touched her 
independent spirit. She wrote to me afterwards asking if I approved. 
Of course I did. 

Plans for each of the family were considered. Sylvia’s future was 
decided by her gift for painting and by the studentship she obtained 
at the Manchester School of Art. Adela, for the time being at least, 
had teaching in view, and Harry was at the Grammar School. 

As to my own future, I did not know of anything I should like 
to do and my role was, as the eldest child, to help Mother, as the 
letters of condolence I received expressed it, and as I myself recog- 
nized. Mother’s first idea for her own business activity had been dress- 
making, suggested by her own flair for good dressing. I wrote to her: 
‘Have you any ideas about me yet.^ Madame Dufaux thinks I ought to 
go in for dressmaking too.’ 



Mother had come to feel a distinct prejudice against professional 
careers and to regard an anonymous business as more compatible with 
freedom of opinion. So failing any strong preference on my part, her 
suggestion was that I should be her right hand in the business which 
she was preparing to start. 

She decided finally that this should again be a shop, selling artistic 
wares, silks, cushions, and the rest. She wanted me to continue to 
improve my French a little longer, and then to return to help her in 
this venture. It was with resignation, rather than with enthusiasm, that 
I viewed my future, for I felt no aptitude for business. But I could 
suggest no practicable alternative. In any case, the time and circum- 
stances were far too sad and grave for the assertion of likes or dislikes. 
Nothing seemed to matter very much, anyhow, and if one could be 
of some use that would be all to the good. 

Mother’s fellow members of the Board of Guardians were greatly 
moved by her trouble. It was they who nominated her for the vacant 
position of Registrar of Births and Deaths. This appointment, with 
its steady income and the pension to follow on retirement at a not 
advanced age, was a great boon. It involved Mother’s resignation as 
a Poor Law Guardian and she was regretful to give up that labour of 
love. Later she was co-opted, on the nomination of the Manchester 
and Salford Trades Union Council, as a member of the Manchester 
School Board. The loss of her husband and partner in service had, 
however, for the time being, taken from her all real heart for public 

A new house in Nelson Street, where now the great Infirmary 
stands, was to be our new home, an attractive building which Mother 
arranged with all her good taste. 

Mother summoned me and I went home. A home so changed ! It 
had been midsummer when I went away. When I returned, summer 
had gone. So it was in our life and home. All was now in the minor 
key, depressed, forlorn. Mother was in eclipse — heroic as ever, and 
energetic in her doings, but wan, and with a tragic look that never 
quite left her through all the ensuing years, even those years of con- 
quering leadership that gave her feme. This trial, the double burden 
of family care which she was now bearing, matured her the more for 
the fight she was later to make for the women’s cause. 

Mother had not given up her businesss project on obtaining the 
registrarship. Her hours of official duty were short and mainly in the 



earlier morning and the evening. She wanted a fuller occupation, work 
being ever her recourse in sorrow. She hoped that in the business she 
might build something that would benefit her children and provide 
an occupation for me. Her former experience was useful and she soon 
had all in working order. The new home routine established itself and 
Mother was ever fortunate in those who served her. 

Sylvia, all this time, had been distinguishing herself at the School 
of Art and the two youngest children were pursuing their course. 


My Work Begins 

University — Friendships — First Recruit — New Tactics 

I BE GAN my work as Mother’s right hand. Morning after morning 
saw me in the tram, reading the newspaper on the way to business, 
one of very few girls so travelling at that hour in those pre-war 
days. Mother would follow me later after her official duties closed. 

My resolves were good but as time went on I felt more and more 
unqualified for this avocation. Business was not good for me and I 
was not good for business. Perhaps I ought to have forced myself to 
an interest in my task, yet if I had, subsequent events might have 
pursued a very different course. 

Mother, seeing my unhappy case, suggested some classes at the 
University. These were, at once, a great mitigation. I had not time to 
take a full course of lectures leading to a degree, so took logic under 
Professor Alexander and another course or two. Those lectures were 
my gateway to a future so filled with inspiring thoughts and activity 
that I came to reckon myself the happiest person on earth. I found my 
aim in life. 

Dashing to lectures and away again, I had no real touch with the 
University, but one late afternoon meeting I managed to attend. The 
Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alfred Hopkinson, spoke on the poets and 
politics, and a discussion followed. I had had not the faintest intention 
of saying a word; yet, to my own surprise, the discourse and the 
debate stirred a thought in me and the thought would out. I rose and 
rather nervously uttered a sentence or two. ‘Who is that.^’ the Vice- 
Chancellor asked the graduate sitting beside him, and in his closing 
remarks he referred in a very kind way to my maiden speech, saying: 
‘As one speaker has well said, it is after all the attitude of mind of the 
poet • • 

Miss Esther Roper descended from the platform at the close of the 
meeting and overtook me. She was secretary of the North of England 




Society for Woman Suffrage, and one of the committee of the National 
Union of Woman Suffrage Societies led by Mrs. Fawcett. Miss Roper 
and her friend Eva Gore-Booth, secretary of the Manchester Women’s 
Trade Council, played an important part in the final phase of the 
Suffrage movement. Esther Roper had stirred Eva Gore-Booth to 
strong interest in the women’s cause and the latter left, for its sake, her 
home in the West of Ireland to live in Manchester. Between them, 
they were conducting something of a woman suffrage revival. 

Miss Roper and Miss Gore-Booth insisted that the working woman 
needed the vote as a weapon of self defence, just as much as did the , 
working man. This argument had gained a new force because of the 
movement for men’s labour representation in Parliament which 
developed into the Labour Party. Women’s labour representation was 
even more needful, urged Miss Roper and Miss Gore-Booth, because 
of the terribly low wages of working women. In those voteless days 
the condition of women workers was far worse than now, and without 
the hope of improvement the vote now provides. Necessity forced 
women into the labour market, where they were reckoned interlopers 
by the men, whose wage level they threatened. Organizations of 
women workers were almost powerless, because the industrial units 
composing them were politically powerless. It is not the work of a 
moment to reverse such an order; but every politically powerful class 
will eventually procure its own economic welfare. It was the knowledge 
of this fact that inspired the suffrage activities of those faithful cham- 
pions of the working women, Esther Roper and Eva Gore-Booth. 

I joined their respective committees and fought many a battle by 
their side, with a view to getting woman suffrage recognized as a 
question of urgent practical importance from the industrial point of 
view. This was a stage in my political apprenticeship of great and 
lasting value, and I owed much to the example and sympathy of these 
two ftiends. I had been reared in the suffrage cause and the principle 
of equality had been lived out in our home. In fact, it was the sharp 
contrast between practical suffragism in the home circle and the 
inequality I saw meted out to women in general in the outer world 
that made me see in the suffrage cause one, not of merely academic 
interest, but of stem practical importance. 

My first committee was composed largely of my father s contem- 
poraries, all members with him of the original committee for woman 
suffrage. They welcomed me benevolently, for my parents sake. The 



Other, the Women’s Trade Union Council, existed to organize the yet 
unorganized working women. Our object was to commit this Council 
to the policy of claiming the vote as a weapon of industrial defence and 
at the same time to stir the Woman Suffrage Committee to a more 
vigorous propaganda. 

The work outside the committee-room was of great political and 
human interest. Miss Roper, Miss Gore-Booth, Mrs. Dickinson and I 
spoke indoors and outdoors, in Manchester and neighbouring places, 
urging the economic importance to women of abolishing their political 
outlawry, since this would raise their human status and give them a 
voice in legislation affecting their interests. My political path was easy. 
‘Dr. Pankhurst’s daughter’ was the passport to the friendship of one 
and all, in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire, the sphere of action in 
my early suffrage days. 

Here, then, was an aim in life for me — ^the liberation of politically 
fettered womanhood. 

One decision I came to firmly; it was that this vote question must 
be settled. Mine was the third generation of women to claim the vote 
and the vote must now be obtained. To go on helplessly pleading was 
undignified. Strong and urgent demand was needed. Success must be 
hastened or women’s last political state would be worse than their first. 

Incidentally, I now began the study of law. Mother was telling Miss 
Roper of something I had done regarding some woman’s problem and 
her response was: ‘She ought to be a lawyer.’ That was then im- 
possible, of course, but Mother was delighted by the idea. She resolved 
to ask Lord Haldane, for the sake of former days and as an avowed 
supporter of equal rights and opportunities for women, to sponsor me 
in my application to become a law student at Lincoln’s Inn with a view 
to admission to the Bar. We chose Lincoln’s Inn because that would 
mean following in Father’s footsteps. Lord Haldane very kindly 
assented to Mother’s request. My application was refused, with those 
of Miss Ivy Williams, ll.d., and Miss Bertha Cave, complete strangers 
to us, who at this time decided to make like applications. Miss Cave 
and I were afterwards invited to address the Union Society in London, 
but although the assembled lawyers carried the motion in favour of 
the admission of women to their profession, that did not open the door 
closed against us. 

I began at the University of Manchester a course leading to the 
degree of ll.b., for Mother thought it well to give this evidence of 



serious purpose behind my recent application. It also seemed that a 
knowledge of law might be useful in work for woman suffrage, and 
useful it was indeed to prove. The threefold task of business, woman 
suffrage work, and study for the degree would be rather difficult to 
manage, yet Mother liked to have one of her own family by her side 
in her business. Formerly it had been her sister. In her latest venture it 
had been I, and now she turned to her second daughter, Sylvia. After 
her travelling scholarship ran out, Sylvia had stayed on in Venice and 
she was still there. Mother now called her home to take a turn of 
business duty. Sylvia’s artistic gift might adapt her better than me to ^ , 
some phases of the undertaking, especially as her task was mainly to 
design and paint in a studio, but she, too, was not bom for business. 
She did part-time at business, part-time at the School of A^. After a 
while she returned wholly to the School of Art and continued her 
success there. 

Then Mother herself, whose political zeal was reviving, yielded 
to the competing claims of politics. She gave up her business and 
concentrated upon her official duties and upon the campaign for 
women’s enfranchisement. 

Mother strongly approved the idea of urging the Labour move- 
ment to make woman suffrage an urgent part of its programme and so 
bring the question into immediate practical politics, if only by stirring 
the other political parties to emulation. The practical difficulty was, 
however, that Labour men cared relatively little for franchise reform 
even for men, because already the working-men voters were in a 
majority. ‘We have votes enough to get all we want, if the votes are 
used as we wish them to be used,’ was their thought. To be in favour 
of women having the vote was the proper thing, but when it came to 
action there were many other matters that to men, even Labour men, 
seemed much more important. Mother and I arrived at the conclusion 
that who would be politically free herself must strike the blow, and 
that women could not do better than pay the independent Labour 
movement the compliment of imitation, by starting an independent 
women’s movement. 

‘Women,’ said Mother on a memorable occasion, ‘we must do the 
work ourselves. We must have an independent women’s movement. 
Come to my house tomorrow and we will arrange it!’ 



Next day a little group assembled^ mostly wives of Labour men; 
women of character and personality. We resolved ourselves into the 
Women’s Social and Political Union, on an independent non-party, 
non-class foundation. Neither Mother nor I held any office. We did 
not want the Pankhurst name to appear lest the Union be discounted as 
‘just Mrs. Pankhurst and Christabel’ and dubbed ‘a family party’. 
Later on, when the W.S.P.U. grew to be a power in the land, it 
mattered not what anyone called it. It became a family party indeed, 
when hosts of women of all sorts and conditions, in all parts of the 
country, were united by a common purpose and devotion. We 
gloried in being in that sense a family party, but in the small begin- 
nings of things it was politic that officers should not have the Pank- 
hurst name. 

W.S.P.U. business was done at weekly meetings and all present 
subscribed what they could to the funds. Mother supplied the rest of 
the money needed. Militancy was not part of the programme in those 
early days. Our work was still entirely peaceful and educational, being 
designed to prove to the public women’s need of the vote and to rouse 
women to insist that the political parties, including the new Labour 
Party, should take practical and speedy action in our cause. 

Heavy work it was to travel hither and thither, to Lancashire, and 
Cheshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire, watching occasion, and 
taking it, to bring woman suffrage to the fore, at public meetings, at 
Trade Union gatherings, at lecture and debating societies, in parks and 
fair grounds, and at street comers. ‘Won’t you speak on some other 
subject than the Vote?’ would be the appeal, but the answer was always 
adamantly: No. We did not speak for speaking’s sake. If we could not 
have a say on the great and vital cause, then we would rather stay 
comfortably at home. As women speakers were then more of a rarity 
than now and much in demand, the answer would be: ‘Please come all 
the same and speak on whatever you will.’ Fine training for speakers 
was all that varied and incessant platform experience. To speak in- 
numerable times, in widely differing conditions, indoors and outdoors, 
at the smallest and the largest meetings, to all sorts of people, of every 
place in the social and educational scale — that led to elasticity, supple- 
ness and naturalness, a command of a speaker’s whole resources — in a 
word, to spontaneity. 

In those early days Annie Kenney joined us. The Oldham Trades 
Council asked me to address a meeting, and as my subject was the 



vote, women were to be present. A small gathering it was — but Annie 
Kenney was there! Then, as often, it proved that a small meeting may 
have greater results than one attended by ten thousand. When I had 
spoken, three eager, vividly intelligent girls, with shining eyes, came 
up to me. They were Annie Kenney and her sisters. Annie was full of 
the thought that her fellow workers in the cotton factory must hear. 
Would I come and speak if a meeting were arranged for them.^ I con- 
sented, not so much for the sake of the other girls as to test Annie, 
of whom at this first sight I hoped great things. If she carried through 
her plan for a meeting this would show fidelity of purpose. If I heard 
no more of the meeting, it would be a case of crackling thorns as soon 
burnt out as lit. I gave her my address and departed. Quickly came a 
letter enclosing printed handbills. She was only a novice at getting up 
meetings, the other girls in the factory were not all Annie Kenneys, 
and many still cared far too little for votes to come to the meeting. But 
Annie played her part truly and well at that beginning, as she was to 
play it all through the fight, and notably and indispensably at two 
moments of crisis to be dealt with hereafter. Her little meeting made us 
friends and allies. Mother met her and she became as one of our 
family. Evening by evening, after her day’s work, and on Saturday 
afternoons, she would take train to Manchester, make for our house 
and join in whatever work was doing for the cause. Her influence with 
women workers increased and she was elected, its one woman member, 
to the Oldham Trades Council. She gained platform experience and 
the W.S.P.U. had one speaker the more. 

Our speaking force was increased, too, by Teresa Billington, a 
Manchester teacher. She, having consulted Mother, as a member of 
the education authority, about her professional concerns, became 
interested in W.S.P.U. activities and wished to share in these. She 
became a power in debate and could make short work of any platform 
opponent. So the ‘family party’ grew, one recruit after another being 
added to our band, still weak in numbers, but strong in hope and 
resolve. Memory here calls up other dear companions of that time who 
made their stand and played their part by our side. Mrs. Scott, our 
first secretary, genial and full of humour; Mrs. Harker, serious and 
determined; Mrs. Morrisej', lovable and all kindness, and others 
equally to be praised, links in a long, strong chain that reached from 
the earliest effort to the victory. 



Militancy really began on 20th February 1904, at a first Free Trade 
Hall meeting with a protest of which little was heard and nothing 
remembered — ^because it did not result in imprisonment! 

The Free Trade League, a renaissance of the Anti-Com Law 
organization, had announced its initial meeting in the Free Trade Hall 
to be addressed by Mr, Winston Churchill. I applied for a ticket and 
received one for the platform. This was excellent for my purpose. Mr. 
Churchill had moved that ‘this meeting affirms its unshakable belief in 
the principles of Free Trade adopted more than fifty years ago . . 
others had seconded and supported the resolution, when, as related by 
the Manchester Guardian: 

Miss Pankhurst asked to be allowed to move an amendment with 
regard to Woman Suffrage. The Chairman said he was afraid he could 
not permit such an addition. It contained words and sentiments on a 
matter more or less contentious to which persons absolutely agreed on 
the question of Free Trade might have difficulty in giving their support. 
Miss Pankhurst seemed loth to give way, but finally, amid loud cries of 
‘Chair’, she retired. The Chairman read the addition which Miss Pank- 
hurst proposed to make to the resolution which asked that the Repre- 
sentation of die People Acts should be so amended that the words im- 
porting the masculine gender should include women. He was sorry, he 
said, that he must adhere to his decision not to put it. 

This was the first militant step — the hardest to me, because it was 
the first. To move from my place on the platform to the speaker’s 
table in the teeth of the astonishment and opposition of will of that 
immense throng, those civic and county leaders and those Members of 
Parliament, was the most difficult thing I have ever done. 

Something had been gained. Women’s claim to vote had been 
imposed upon the attention of political leaders and the public, at one 
of the decisive political meetings of the century. The trouble was that 
the thought of woman suffrage quickly faded. I reproached myself for 
having given way too easily. Next time such a meeting was held, a 
mark should be made that could not disappear. Thus militancy had its 
origin in purpose. 

We were now urging that the next Liberal Government, confi- 
dently predicted by Liberals themselves, should grant women the 

Mother, attending the usual sessional gatherings of Women 



Suffragists and friendly M.P.S in London, struck a practical note by 
asking what these M.P.s were going to do to bring the cause at last 
to fruition, but could elicit no constructive reply. The outcome of 
much activity by all the organizations interested was the introduction 
of a Woman Suffrage Bill, the first for many years. Mother had worked 
mightily to get this Bill introduced. She had spent all the time she 
could spare in London, urging M.P.s to action. She passed hours in 
the lobby with Sylvia, who was now living in London, actively pushed 
forward by the hope that the Conservative Government would, 
before the nearing General Election, help this Bill to reach the Statute 
Book. Mother’s efforts indeed put non-militant methods to the fullest * ' 
proof — and this without reckoning the efforts of the other suffragists! 

In Manchester, also, where the Conservative Prime Minister had his 
seat, we did all that political experience could suggest and energy 
accomplish to drive through the Bill by peaceful means. It was, in 
short, a great effort to win votes for women by non-militant methods. 

The Bill was talked out! Peaceful methods had failed. This news 
reached the waiting, anxious women gathered in the lobby of the 
House of Commons. Mother, who herself had worked so hard for the 
Bill and shared the indignation of the women at the news of its mas- 
sacre, called upon them to follow her outside for a meeting of protest. 
With Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy, the aged pioneer, Mrs. Martel, the 
woman voter from Australia, Sylvia, and many others. Mother pro- 
ceeded to the statue of Richard Cceur de Lion, a suitable place Of 
meeting. The police, who had first sought to disperse the women and 
who took names of some, finally directed them to Broad Sanctuary, 
where speeches were made and a resolution adopted condemning the 
Government’s action in allowing a small minority to talk out the Bill. 

[905 — Militancy 

Prison — N.-W. Manchester Election — The Liberal Rally 

AS THE year 1905 went on, the Liberal Party was more clearly in 
ZA the ascendant and the Liberal leaders counted upon early 
X A political office. Manchester — ^the Free Trade Hall — was again 
to be the scene of a rally at which the Liberal Party would utter their 
war cry for the General Election. Here was my chance! I would make 
amends for my weakness in not pressing that earlier amendment! Now 
there should be an act the effect of which would remain, a protest not 
of word but of deed. Prison this time! Prison would mean a fact that 
could not fade from the record, a proof of women’s political dis- 
content, a demonstration that the political subjection of women rested 
not on women’s consent but on force majeure used to impose and 
enforce it. 

Compelling argument for our protest at this Free Trade Hall 
meeting was provided. Unemployment was, just then, as it has been 
in more recent days, a pressing problem. Great hope had been set 
upon the Unemployment Bill brought before Parliament, but the 
Conservative Government was accused of frustrating this hope by 
shelving the Bill. The Manchester unemployed gathered at an open-air 
protest meeting in a place unauthorized by the police. The meeting was 
dispersed, the crowd scattering hither and thither. Quite a small and 
mild affair it was, as we on the spot well knew, but the news grew in 
telling, and reached London as an Unemployed Riot in Manchester. 
The politicians were stirred — ^they acted. The Unemployment Bill was 
brought down from the shelf and passed into law. 

We must do something like that to get a Woman Suffrage Bill 
carried, I resolved. Militancy by the unemployed, militancy that was 
ordy thotight to have happened^ moved the Government to do what 
before they would not or could not do ! That Government, like pre- 
ceding Governments, had shelved woman suffrage, although Mr. 


190 5 -MILITANCY 49 

Balfour, the Prime Minister, was himself in favour of it, and a majority 
of the House of Commons was pledged to it. Women had greater 
justification for militant methods than the unemployed, because, 
unlike men, they were without any constitutional means of gaining 
their end. The more democratic the constitution, the more deaf the 
ruling Government to the pleas of any class that was voteless and so 
outside the Constitution. Women today, with their immense voting 
power, are rapidly forgetting, and the younger ones never knew, what 
was the political and the economic helplessness of women in the days 
when Mother put herself behind militancy. It was a tremendous and, 
she knew, irrevocable decision. 

That night of the first arrest and imprisonment is unforgettable. 
The life of the Conservative Government was ebbing fast, so we 
wasted no powder and shot upon them. The Liberal leaders, who were 
to replace them in office, must be challenged on the fundamental 
principle of Liberalism — government of the people by the people, 
even such of the people as happened to be women. If the new Liberal 
Government were willing to enfranchise women, the Liberal leaders 
would say soj if they were not willing, then militancy would begin. A 
straight question must be put to them — a straight answer obtained. 

Good seats were secured for the Free Trade Hall meeting. The 
question was painted on a banner in large letters, in case it should not 
be made clear enough by vocal utterance. How should we word it.^ 
‘Will you give woman suffrage.^’ — ^we rejected that form, for the word 
Suffrage suggested to some unlettered or jesting folk the idea of 
suffering. ‘Let them suffer away!’ — ^we had heard the taunt. We must 
find another wording and we did! It was so obvious and yet, strange to 
say, quite new. Our banner bore this terse device: 



Thus was uttered for the first time the famous and victorious 
battle-cry: ‘Votes for Women!’ 

Busy with white calico, black furniture stain and paint-brushes, we 
soon had our banner ready, and Annie Kenney and I set forth to 
victory, in the form of an affirmative Liberal answer, or to prison. We 
knew only too well that the answer we longed for would be refused. 




‘We shall sleep in prison tonight,’ said I to Mother. Her face was 
drawn and cold when I said goodbye. Our action was really hers. She 
accepted the responsibility of a militant policy, which she knew must 
be continued until victory. She considered, as we two young ones who 
went into the fray that night naturally did not quite so deeply con- 
sider, its effect upon our own lives. She realized that her official post, 
with its present emoluments and future pension, was at stake; she 
foresaw a day, which later arrived, when she would have to choose 
between surrendering that position and giving up the militant cam- 
paign which she believed politically necessary for the enfranchisement 
• of women. It was for Mother an hour of crisis. She stood utterly alone 
in the world, so far as this decision to militancy was concerned. 
Reckoning the cost in advance, Mother prepared to pay for it, for 
women’s sake. The loss might be all hers, but the gain would be theirs. 

The Free Trade Hall was crowded. The sky was clear for a Liberal 
victory — save for a little cloud no bigger than a woman’s hand! Calm, 
but with beating hearts, Annie and I took our seats and looked at the 
exultant throng we must soon anger by our challenge. Their cheers as 
the speakers entered gave us the note and pitch of their emotion. 
Speech followed speech. Interruptions came from eager partisans or 
from a few stray critics. The interrupters, we noticed, were ignored or 
good-humouredly answered. But, then, they were all men and voters! 
Our plan was to wait until the speakers had said their say, before asking 
our question. We must, for one thing, give these Liberal leaders and 
spokesmen the opportunity of explaining that their programme in- 
cluded political enfranchisement for women. 

Annie as the working woman — for this should make the stronger 
appeal to Liberals — ^rose first and asked: ‘Will the Liberal Government 
give votes to women?’ No answer came. I joined my voice to hers and 
our banner was unfurled, making clear what was our question. The 
effect was explosive! The meeting was aflame with excitement. Some 
consultation among chairman and speakers ensued and then the Chief 
Constable of Manchester, Sir Robert Peacock, genial and paternal in 
manner, made his way to us and promised us, on behalf of the plat- 
form, an answer to our question after the vote of thanks had been made. 
We accepted the undertaking and again we waited. We gave him our 
question in writing. The vote of thanks was carried. Sir Edward Grey 

1905-MILITANCY 51 

rose to reply without one word in answer to our question ! The bargain 
thus broken on his side, we were free to renew our simple question: 
‘Will the Liberal Government give women the vote?’ The answer 
came then — ^not in word, but in deed. Stewards rushed at us, aided by 
volunteers and accompanied by loud cries: ‘Throw them out!’ We 
were dragged from our seats and along the centre aisle, resisting as 
strongly as we could and still calling out: ‘Will the Liberal Government 
give women the vote?’ 

Violence answered our demand for justice. Yet better violence than 
jeers, sneers, or silent contempt. Equality was ours that night, we felt, 
for the force used against us proved that our question was a thrust 
which had touched the new Govemment-to-be in a vital spot. The 
meeting was in frenzy. We were being dragged nearer to the platform 
which we must pass before our captors could get us behind the 
scenes. With more than all my strength, resisting theirs, I could stand 
a moment below the platform. I looked into Sir Edward Grey’s face, 
eye to eye, and asked him again: ‘Will your Liberal Government give 
votes to women?’ I remember thinking that, suitably wreathed and 
attired, he would have looked exactly like a Roman Emperor. Pale, 
expressionless, immovable, he returned me look for look. I was swept 
away through the side door, which muffled the deafening tumult in 
the hall. A revulsion of feeling came in the audience as we disappeared 
from view. There were cries of ‘Shame!’ and of sympathy with the 
questioners. In deference to this. Sir Edward Grey said he was not 
sure that unwittingly he had not been a contributing cause of the inci- 
dent which he regretted. The trouble, he understood, had arisen from a 
desire to know his opinion on woman suffrage, but it was a question 
that he could not deal with that night, because it was not, and he did 
not think it likely to be, a party question. His words too plainly 
meant that women would not in his opinion ever get the vote! 

Outside the auditorium and behind the scenes, we were in the grip 
of policemen and surrounded by stewards. The matter must not, I 
knew, stay where it was. The Free Trade Hall protest twenty months 
before had taught me that. What we had done must be made a decisive 
act of lasting import. We must, in fact, bring the matter into Court, 
into prison. For simply distiirbing the meeting I should not be im- 
prisoned. I must use the infallible means of getting arrested, I must 
‘assault the police*. But how was I to do it? The police’ seemed to be 
skilled to frustrate my purpose. I could not strike them, my arms were 


5 » 

being held. I could not even stamp on their toes — they seemed able to 
prevent that. Yet I must bring myself under arrest. The vote depended 
upon it. There could be no compromise at that moment of crisis. 
Lectures on the law flashed to my mind. I could, even with all limbs 
helpless, commit a technical assault and so I found myself arrested and 
charged with ‘spitting at a policeman’. It was not a real spit but only, 
shall we call it, a ‘pout’, a perfealy dry purse of the mouth. I could not 
really have done it, even to get the vote, I think. Anyhow, there was 
no need, my technical assault was enough. 

But how awful it was to read in the newspaper next morning, and I 
could not and dare not explain the entirely technical and symbolic 
character of the act, because the magistrate might have discharged me 
and the political purpose in view would not have been achieved. Even 
after I came out of prison I was afraid of explaining and so seeming to 
weaken or recant. It was a great comfort when some person wrote of 
me as a spitfire. That seemed to show a certain approach to discernment 
of the real fact. 

Annie and I, to make assurance doubly sure, were as militant as 
we could be, in speaking to the crowd outside the hall. The police 
dragged us off, followed by a veritable procession of members of the 
audience. ‘What would your father have said to this.^’ asked one {>olice- 
man reprovingly. I thought I knew what he would have said. Then 
a light dawned on another policeman: ‘Why, this is what they have 
been aiming at!’ 

Arrived at the police station, we were uncompromising and duly 
defiant. The charge against us must, we were resolved, be entered, and 
it was. We refused to be bailed out, lest the vital chain of events be 
broken. Not anxious, it seemed, to display the wretched hospitality of 
the police cells, they sent us home without bail, adjuring us to appear 
next morning at the Police Court. We assured them that we should 
be there! 

Mother was anxiously awaiting us and we told her all. Next 
morning we found that the long, long newspaper silence as to woman 
suffrage was broken. So far, so good. 

Mother came with us to the Police Court. We shivered rather on 
entering. Police Courts then were associated in my mind only with the 
sordid and discreditable. However, we were there. A benign magis- 
trate, who had known Father, was not at all severe! But we gave him 
not the least chance or excuse to let us off. To prison we went. 

1905-MILITANCY 53 

One was entering the unknown. Prison was a word of unimag- 
inable possibilities. We entered its gates, received prison clothes to 
wear, of antique pattern, scrubby texture and incredible thickness in 
layers and layers of pleats. Cells were box-like, lit by high small 
windows. A stool, a shelf as table, rolled-up bed and a plank on which 
to spread it at night, an array of tins with a wooden spoon, unpleas- 
antly and unhygienically porous. Such was the furniture. A Bible lay 
on the table, and for that much thanks ! Later we knew of library books 
coming round and chose the longest. Food, served in the tins, was, 
according to the time of day, a thickish gruel, bread of dark com- 
plexion, yet preferable, I admit, to some of the dead- white, lifeless stuff * 
we get when at large; a sort of broth with floating meat; tea or a cocoa 
brew to drink! Imprisonment was solitary, save for the time in chapel 
and at exercise when there was a single-file march, round and round 
the high-walled yard. Prison hardships were negligible to us. We 
were thinking of other things. On the question of prison conditions I 
may say, out of experience thereof, that the hardest of these conditions 
is — being in prison, the deprivation of liberty. The joy of the first day 
out of prison cannot be expressed. To pass outside those gates is to 
come alive again. But soon the glory fades and one forgets to remem- 
ber how precious is the common liberty of everyday. 

During that first imprisonment, short, but so long-seeming, be- 
cause it was the first, kindly visitors came to urge me to have the fine 
paid and come out. One, a prison visitor, a friend of Mother’s who 
afterwards joined our ranks, appealed in this sense, but when she 
failed seemed to be really sympathetic after all. Then came a visiting 
magistrate, another old friend of Father’s. He arrived as the naidday 
meal was being brought to my cell. Viewing this unappetizing fare 
with disfavour, he exclaimed; ‘Fancy your father’s daughter eating 
such food! Why don’t you come away this minute! Let me pay your 
fine!’ He was really distressed. He accepted my explanation with a 
genial smile and seemed to understand. One evening, between eight 
and nine o’clock — z late hour for prisoners — as I lay on plank and 
straw mattress, there came a sharp knock at the cell door and a loud 
voice announced that someone stood at the prison gate wanting to 
pay the fine and secure my instant release. 

‘No,’ I said, ‘I will not have my fine paid!’ 

Receding footsteps, silence, and that was the end of that! But 
rumour went that Mr. Winston Churchill, Sir Edward Grey’s partner 



on the platform, had called or sent an emissary to pay the fine. We 
neither knew nor cared to know who had tried to release us before the 
day which the law and our own resolve had fixed. Annie and I knew 
that in the contest of wills our will must prevail. This was the decisive 
battle in the war between women and the Liberal Party. The Liberals 
had started the war with women, but they must not win it, however 
long it might last. 

The moment of release arrived, and at eight o’clock one morning 
we passed through bolts and bars to the outer world. A crowd was 
waiting; all pressed forward but one outstripped the rest. She was a 
complete stranger to me, but she gave me the first greeting. It was 
Flora Drummond. We were friends at sight. She became another 
pillar of the movement and one of its most notable personalities. 

Mother, then, and home, and all the news ! Not an echo from the 
outside world had penetrated the prison walls and we knew nothing of 
how things had turned out. Mother had had the brunt of it to bear — 
being in prison was easy and peaceful, compared to what she had to 
bear. Anger, criticism, had run high. We had known that must happen. 
Mother and I had together faced it, before we took the fateful step of 
forcing the Liberal leaders to fight or give votes to women. 

The world, at that time, was at its most tranquil. The Boer War 
had receded into the past and the greater upheaval of 1914 was still 
undreamt of. Breaking in upon that placidity, this outbreak of women’s 
militancy was the more startling. Since 1914 the world has grown 
accustomed to real and terrible disturbance, but then it took less to 
thrill and startle it. That women should rise alone and independently, 
solely for the women’s cause, was a thing without precedent. 

Mother’s heroine’s heart was needed in those first critical hours. It 
is not so easy now to realize the position in which she then stood. A 
widow, with still dependent children, risking (and eventually losing) 
her income and future pension in the Government service, Mother had 
stood firm against a world. From the blow she thus struck with her 
own hand at her position and fortune, there might have been no re- 
covery, especially in those days. She faced the risk and took it — for 
women’s sake. As history knows, she did not take it in vain, and 
victory was to follow. 

Among Suffragists of other camps, Esther Roper and Eva Gore- 
Booth were foremost in expressing S3mapathy with Mother in the 
crisis. In the militant years that followed, nothing rejoiced us more 

1905-MILITANCY 55 

than the support of such pioneers as Mrs. Bright Maclaren (John 
Bright’s sister), Dr. Garrett Anderson (the pioneer medical woman), 
who herself, despite her weight of years, once braved arrest by going 
with Mother at the head of a deputation to the Houses of Parliament. 
Mrs. Ashworth Hallett, Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy, Miss J. C. 
Methuen, Mrs. Taylor of Chipchase and many another were with us 
in sympathy. 

The Free Trade Hall meeting of welcome to the two prisoners was 
crowded. Teresa Billington and a band of workers had, in that short 
week, organized and advertised it with energy, and the Manchester 
public were, of course, greatly stirred by the event which had echoed 
through the newspapers of the world. Perhaps Manchester folk, on the 
principle that what Manchester thinks today, England will think to- 
morrow, were, even then, not without an intuition that militancy, 
started there, would spread and triumph in the country as a whole. We 
two prisoners, speaking that night in the very hall whence a week 
before we had been forcibly ejected, confidently foresaw the day of 
future victory. That great meeting made it evident that the first storm 
had been weathered. Our first and decisive battle had been won. 

We had certainly broken the Press silence on votes for women, 
that silence which, by keeping women uninformed, had so largely 
smothered and strangled the movement. This newspaper silence had, 
at the same time, protected politicians from criticism of their offences, 
emissive and commissive, against the suffrage cause. Mother and I — 
in the pre-militant days — called on the editor of one of the most im- 
portant newspapers in the country, asking for the publication of a 
leading article drawing attention to a Woman Suffrage Bill. The editor, 
we found, was away; an associate received us. Mother put her request. 
‘I cannot do this without the editor’s authority,’ he told us, and went 
on to explain that in all his twenty years’ association with this news- 
paper its practice had been, as far as possible, to ignore the woman 
suffrage question. But where peaceful means had failed, one act of 
militancy succeeded and never again was the cause ignored by that or 
any other newspaper. Weird rumours were heard now and again of 
newspaper potentates meeting in conclave and agreeing to be blind and 
dumb concerning the doings of the militants, but the rumours were 
felse or else the agreements broke down. 



Suffrage meetings, however large, were affairs of words, and the 
words of voteless women were not ‘news’. But militancy was news, 
was current history, and, as such, must have place in the Press. ‘Look 
at the newspapers!’ wrote one veteran Suffragist, in her delight at 
seeing the silence embargo lifted. The Press became our best ally. That 
super-journalist, W. T. Stead, said to Mother: ‘People always swear at 
you before they swear by you.’ 

Strangely enough, some who had rallied at the first militant deed 
thought that this one deed was enough and that militancy should end 
with its beginning. Representations were made to Mother accordingly. 
We differed from these counsellors. Too well we knew the shortness 
of political memory. To have made that one protest, suffered that one 
imprisonment, would have meant no lasting gain to the cause. All 
depended upon perseverance in the same path. 

The General Election was drawing near. Our election policy 
must be declared. Voteless as we were, no direct part in the election 
could be ours, but women had long been active in elections as political- 
party hand-maidens, and their energies and abilities, so useful in 
helping men candidates, could be employed in helping their own 
cause. Our resources being still small, it was necessary to concentrate 
them at the most vital point. A Liberal leader’s candidature in our own 
stronghold was our opportunity. Upon Mr. Winston Churchill’s 
candidature for North-West Manchester our election policy was 
centred. The tactics most possible for us and most effectual at that 
early stage consisted in questioning Mr. Churchill at his election meet- 
ings. The dramatic quality of our doings made them good copy in the 
eyes of the popular Press. The more staid columns of the Manchester 
Guardian and Manchester Courier had perforce to treat our activities 
as news, and moreover they already saw the movement to be a far more 
significant thing than, as yet, did the Press and public outside Man- 
chester. They best knew the Pankhurst name of old — ^that it stood for 
persistence in a determined course. 

Annie Kenney by this time had joined our family circle, for 
Mother had invited her to do this, that she might be free to devote 
herself wholly to the movement. 

Sylvia, home from her art studies for the holidays, entered the 
election fray and on one occasion at a meeting in a schoolroom was 
ejected from the platform where she had found a place, was locked in 
an ante-room, and had to make her escape through the window in 



order to repeat her question later on. Adela and Harry came into 
action too. The General, as Mrs. Drummond was later to be known, 
developed at that time her powers of public speech, and on one and the 
same evening would appear at each of Mr. Churchill’s meetings in turn 
to ask with resounding voice: ‘What about votes for women?’ 

The news of the campaign travelled far beyond Manchester. We 
were not concerned with the party or with the candidate Mr. Churchill 
was opposing. Out object was simply to keep out the Government 
man. It is interesting to note, by the way, that Mr. Joynson Hicks, the 
Conservative candidate, played an important Parliamentary part in ^ 
years to come in extending the vote to women. 

Our manifesto in that first election campaign ran thus: 

It has been decided to oppose Mr. Winston Churchill at the General 
Election, on the ground that he is a member of the Liberal Government 
which refuses to give Women the Vote. 

The Government is anxious to have freedom for the Chinese in 
South Africa, but will not give political freedom to British Women. 

‘The Passive Resisters’ are to have satisfaction, but women are not 
to have the votes which they have been demanding for some half a 

The working women of the country who are earning starvation 
wages stand in urgent need of the vote. These helpless workers must 
have political power. It is all very well to promise cheap bread, but good 
wages are quite as important as cheap food and unless working women 
get votes, their wages and conditions of labour cannot be improved. 
The vote is the worker’s best friend. Evidently, the Liberal Government 
cares nothing about the sufferings of underpaid working women, or else 
votes for women would have a foremost place on the Government 

Now that a Liberal Government is in power, the resolution in favour 
of Women’s Franchise, recently carried by the National Liberal Federa- 
tion, is ignored. In fact, the resolution was carried simply and solely in 
order to induce women to canvass for Liberal Candidates. 

The Prime Minister, though he says he is personally ‘in favour’ of 
Women’s Franchise, actually expects women to wait until after the 
General Election before knowing what the Liberal Government will do 
for them. Everyone knows what diis means. If the Liberal leaders will 
not promise before the General Election to give votes to women, they 
will not do it after the Election. 

Although Liberals profess to believe in political freedom the 



long years in the wilderness, the exiles entered the land of promise. Sud- 
denly I became conscious that something unusual was happening. There 
was a murmur below as though a light breeze had ruffled the great sea of 
humanity that filled the arena. All eyes were turned from the platform to a 
point in the boxes near me. I looked out and my eyes encountered, hang- 
ing from a box next but one to mine, a banner with the legend ‘Votes for 
Women’. It was the signal of a new attack in the rear. Another Richmond 
was in the field. The Trojan host was in ruins, but the Amazons were 
upon us. 

A Suffragette, Annie Kenney herself, was unaccountably present 
in Mr. John Burns’ box, raising her question and unfurling her banner. 
No doubt the whole array of Cabinet Ministers thought, as Mr. Lloyd 
George had said at another meeting: ‘The spectre has appeared!’ 

Of the militant campaign, the already mentioned Liberal author 
wrote; ‘One cannot deny that it revealed quite brilliant generalship. 
... It may not have been magnificent, but it was war. . . . Who was the 
Moltkepf this amazing campaign ... it was Mrs. Pankhurst. . . .’ And 
though he missed the secret of her nature and surmised ‘fanaticism’ and 
‘gloom’ not really hers, he acknowledged that militancy had ‘made 
the cause’ which, having been ‘an academic issue for half a century, 
became actual and vital, as it were in a night’ . . . and that ‘whatever we 
may think of her methods, we cannot doubt that they have shaken the 
walls of Westminster and made a breach through which future 
generations of women are destined to enter into undisputed citizen- 
ship’. Such words, written in 1907, are evidence that the Government’s 
own supporters would gladly have seen them abandon their undignified 
and il-liberal resistance to our claim. 

The Amazons were upon them — yet not fierce and fearsome- 
looking persons, but (and that was the worst of it from the Govern- 
ment’s point of view) unaggressive and quite amiable-looking women. 
No one could feel any real sympathy with the Government side! It was 
always interesting to note the revulsion of feeling, and to hear the 
change of tone of the critics who had gained their opinion of the con- 
flict at second-hand, when they discovered that the Suffragettes were 
not fanatics and viragos but just ordinary women who had made up 
their minds to get political fair play. Mother, especially, made converts 
in thousands, even before she had begun her speech, simply by her 
appearance and manner, which were so completely different from all 


1906 — ^Liberals Come to Power 

London — the Pethickr Lawrences — advice to ^Pester 
People' — London Police Courts — Cockermouth By-election 
— Clement's Inn — Huddersfield 

T he General Election was over. A Liberal Government, strongly 
entrenched, would govern the country for years to come. The 
vote must be wrested from the unwilling grasp of the Liberal 
leaders. The Liberal Government was in fact the enemy. 

The Liberal leaders, with their Parliamentary rank and with- 
drew to Westminster, where they would be beyond our reach, except 
during their occasional sallies to the constituencies. 

‘We must get to work in London now,^ I said to Mother. Then 
only, never before and never after, did I see her flinch. ‘We can^t 
afford it,* she said with the sharpness in her tone that betrayed her pain 
that our new movement should, after all, be checked, and perhaps 
utterly thwarted, for that reason. Money, foul money, again the 
hindrance! Millions of money, were they hers, would she have given 
for women*s political ransom; she did not shrink from risking or giving 
all the money she had. Her only trouble was not having enough to 
give. She had stood financially behind all we had done, thus far, 
though she was in constant danger of losing her post and with it every 
penny. But to extend our work far from her Manchester base would be 
a costly matter. ‘We can*t afford it,* she repeated, almost fiercely, but 
to herself, rather than to me. ‘Mother, the money will come,* I insisted. 
‘We cannot let these people escape us. Parliament is in London. Our 
fight must be made there too.* We couldn*t afford it, she still said. She 
would risk and give everything she had, but she could not give what 
she had not. 

Money should not defeat us, I resolved, with the daring faith of 
youth. We must carry the fight to London. A word with Annie 
Kenney, the unfailing! She would go. Two pounds remained in the 



election fund. She would venture with that small sum and all our 
faith. That is how — ^historic fact — ^Annie Kenney went, with two 
pounds, to London. She would have gone with two pence. 

I longed to go myself. The degree business delayed me. The final 
examination was not until June. After the stir at the University and 
their friendly settlement at the time of my imprisonment, it would be 
ungracious and, in the long run at any rate, be unwise to throw up my 
studies and the degree within a few months of the day. So I stayed in 
Manchester and Annie went to London. 

Mother herself, however, was soon in London, spending as much 
time there as she could manage, returning, by trains at all hoiurs, to 
Manchester to fill her official place. I did deputy for her when she was 
kept from her office, attended law lectures and looked to Suffrage 
things at home — ^but in thought I was in London, keeping in touch 
with all that was going on there. 

Mother found that Annie had set things well in motion. She had 
gone on arrival to Chelsea, where Sylvia, then in her student days at 
South Kensington, was lodging. Sylvia gave Annie all the help she 
could. The next invaders from Manchester were General Flora 
Drummond, Teresa Billington and Jessie Kenney. Mother’s sister Mary, 
already living in London, joined the band, as did Mrs. Martel, our 
Australian friend. Sylvia acted as honorary secretary, and the others 
spoke and organized. London members began to fill the ranks. 

Mrs. Pankhurst, on the first day of the new Parliament, held the 
first W.S.P.U. demonstration in London and addressed her historic 
appeal to the Liberal Government to make with women a just peace 
founded on the vote. 

The King’s Speech embodying the programme of the new Govern- 
ment had made no mention of votes for women and Mother moved 
that the meeting should at once proceed to the House of Commons. 
The motion was carried and the audience followed Mother to the 
House. Admission was at first refused, but finally women, in groups of 
twenty at a time, were admitted to the lobby. Their representations to 
M.P.s proved fruitless. It was another argument for more stringent 
methods. This Caxton Hall meeting was the first overt sign that the 
W.S.P.U. had come to London to stay. 

From that time the career of the Liberal Government was largely 
to consist in their vain opposition to the Suffragettes. This name, first 
applied to us by the Daily Mail., we happily adopted. There was a 


spirit in it, a spring that we liked. Suffragists, we had called ourselves 
till then, but that name lacked the positive note implied by ‘Suffragette’. 
Just ‘want the vote’ was the notion conveyed by the older appellation 
and, as a famous anecdote had it, ‘the Suffragettes [hardening the ‘g’J 
they mean to get it’. 

It was a great day for the young militant movement, the W.S.P.U., 
when Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence joined it and on the same day became 
its honorary treasurer. News of the first militant protest had reached 
her in South Africa. She wanted to know what was behind this action. 
When Emmeline Pankhurst and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence met in 
London, they felt the bond of a common inspiration. Their first long 
talk really determined that partnership which was to build a movement 
equal at all points to its historic enterprise. A Triumvirate was now in 
supreme control of the Women’s Social and Political Union — to ‘Mrs. 
Pankhurst and Christabel’ was added Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence. 

One of the many questions Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence asked Mrs. 
Pankhurst in their first and really decisive interview was whether 
money was needed for the work. ‘The money will come,’ was Mother’s 
answer. Come it did, at the call of Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence. As honorary 
treasurer she was the envy of all other organizations of every kind. The 
income of the W.S.P.U. increased year by year, until, under our 
unique treasurer’s wand, the Union was raising and spending at the 
rate of £200 a week on its nation-wide propaganda and campaign, and 
income and expenditure were still mounting with its ever-growing 

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence’s powers of organization were remarkable. 
She imagined fine projects and knew how to execute them. All this, 
with wisdom in counsel, eloquence on the platform, courage in the 
fight, and true friendship she brought into contribution. She had had 
experience as a social worker, during her association with Mrs. Hugh 
Price Hughes and the West London Mission, had with Miss Mary Neal 
formed and controlled the Esperance Girls’ Club and like activities, 
which had developed the innate gifts she now devoted to the militant 
Suffrage movement. Her husband gave his sympathy and support to 
her decision to join the W.S.P.U. and stood by her from the begin- 
ning. S3mipathy became active co-operation, and he put his scholarly 
attainments as a Cambridge man, a fourth wrangler, holder of many 



Other academi<;»distinctions, and his experience of practical affairs, at 
the service of the women’s cause. The official organ of the W.S.P.U., 
Votes for Womeriy an invaluable factor in our work, was jointly founded 
and edited by Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence. The harmonious col- 
laboration with them lasted from 1906 until, on an issue of policy, it 
came to an end, leaving grateful recollection of their generous contri- 
bution to the coming victory, and of six years’ advance together 
towards the eventual goal. 

No Woman Suffrage Bill was introduced in this first session of the 
new Parliament by any private member, as no one sufficiently sym- 
pathetic gained a place for its discussion, but Mr. Keir Hardie was able 
to move a resolution, which would have enabled at least an expression 
of House of Commons opinion. An opponent, a Liberal M.P., was 
busily ‘talking-out’ the resolution to prevent a division. The time limit 
was all but reached when Suffragettes in the Ladies’ Gallery,.stirred by 
the memory of former talking-out, called ‘Divide, divide*, and Votes 
for Women banners were waved through the cage bars. ■ 

How truly those bars of the Ladies’ Gallery in the House of Com- 
mons symbolized the political position of women! Now dlttf' women 
vote, the Ladies’ Gallery is a cage i«) Jotter. , - < ' 

Amid the hubbub, the fatal hour struck and the House rose. 
Criticism was made that silence in the Ladies’ Gallery would — perhaps 
— ^have meant the Speaker’s acceptance of the closure and a favourable 
vote of the House. But the Speaker’s acceptance of the closure was the 
most unlikely of all things, judging by the ruling that in later time 
blocked a far more substantial woman suffrage motiom Also, a favour- 
able vote of the House, even if prevented on tl^t occasion,.' was re- 
corded and repeated in future sessions and completely ignore^ by the 
Government. ^ ^ 

The Prime Minister, Sir Henry Gamphett-’6anner^^,^soofi after- 
wards admitted that the Government had no Ifiteniaon. (^f ^ving 
women the vote. Patience was required, said he, whftl Ilf received a 
deputation representing all the Suffrage Societies, ours inc|ii 4 ?d> hut 
‘go on pestering people', he also advised. We had indo«if^hfeh obliged 
to pester him, more than once, before he would consent |o receive 
that deputation! Suffragettes had stood upon the doorstep of 10 
Downing Street, claiming to be received. General Flora Drummond, 

Mrs Pankhurst speaking in Trafalgar Square. Front row: Frank 
Smith, L.C.C., Mrs. Wolstenholme Elmy, Keir Ilardie and 
Mrs. Martell 

Clinstabel Pankhurst examining Mr. Lloyd George at Bow 
Street, October 1908 


by a happy accident, pressed a knob she thought a bell, the door 
opened, and she rushed through and nearly reaeh^ the Cabinet room. 
She and Annie were arrested, though not prosecuted. After that, and a 
request by the non-militants, a deputation was received. Veterans of 
forty years’ service, who had heard John Stuart Mill plead their/ause in 
Parliament and had seen the first Woman Suffrage Bill pass its second 
reading in 1870, pleaded that at last women should have the vote. 
University graduates, working women, homekeepers, women of all 
political views supported the claim. Mrs. Pankhurst affirmed that she 
and her militants cared so deeply for the enfranchisement of women 
that they were ready to give ‘life itself or, what is perhaps even harder, 
the means by which we live’. She spoke with truth and her words wejre 
more than an avowal of intention, they were a prophecy. ‘Patience’ was 
hard counsel to receive in reply to all this. 

The Prime Minister declared himself personally friendly to 
votes for women, but powerless to overcome the opposition of 
some members of his Cabinet. ‘We are not satisfied,’ ringingly 
dectared**Aiiili^ Kfehiiey. We militants saw in the Prime Minister’s 
reply only one good feature — ^his parting counsel: ‘Go on pestering 
people!’. ' a V „ " 

Pestered at a public meeting by ‘H k Suffragettes soon after the 
Prime Minister’s utterance, Mr. Lloyd George, also a professing sup- 
porter, exclaimed; ‘Why don’t they go for their enemies.^ Why ^n’t 
they go for their greatest enemy!’ ‘Asquith, Asquith!’ was the mout 
that rose from the audience. Mr. Asquith, then Chancellor of the 
Exchequer and second in command to the Prime Minister, waS regarded 
as the chief of the anti-Sufffage element in the Cabinet. We had 
assuredly, no intention of showing him special indulgence! He was 
retji^sted to feceivisa deputation. He refused. Undeterred, a deputation 
of thirty 'w6meh,' carrying bannei^, went to his residence in Cavendish 
Square. Police, barred their’ way. A battle followed. The leader, 'Annie 
Kjofmey, "yas arrested an^ .with her Mrs. . Sparborough and Teresa 
Billington. Sentences were longer this time — six weeks and two 
months (though this was^ later halved). The alternative was to be 
bound over for a year, a thing to which no militant could con- 
scientibivly agree. 

Militandy had now begun in London. The first prisoners for the 
vote were in Holloway Gs^oL 




My final examination was approaching and that meant release or 
London and the work there. Panic prompted concentration and I with- 
drew from human society to that of my books. When the result came 
out I found that I was bracketed with one other at the top of the 
examination list. 

Mother came to see my degree conferred and we thought of 
Father, his Owens College days, his interest in the University and his 
thoughts about my taking to law. 

London next! Characteristically, as it seemed, all our people, more 
or less, were in the Police Court when I arrived — either as prisoners 
or as onlookers. 

Our Union flourished and all was high promise of coming victory. 
Prison and prisoners, yes, but the first shock and odium of militancy 
had passed, and the grim, harsh days of the later coercion were yet in 
the future. We were ready for all, if it must come — but it might not 
come if the Liberal Government were liberal in deed and in truth as 
well as in name. 

All the same, that London trial was a painful thing. It was only the 
second time I had ever been in a Police Court. The first time was for 
my own trial. There, in the dock, were our women, facing prison. 
Soon they were in the prison van, locked each in a little cramped cell, 
and shaken and rattled to Holloway Gaol. 

This fresh imprisonment, like every other, brought strenuous if 
welcome tasks for those outside. Sympathy with the prisoners and in- 
dignation with the Government drew more women into our ranks. 
Meetings multiplied, correspondence increased, so that those who 
wanted to know why we did these things might be informed. In- 
stantly, then, into the saddle, reins in hand! How thankful I was to be 
all of me in London instead of having my mind there and my body 
in Manchester! 

Surveying the London work as I found it, I considered that in one 
sense it was too exclusively dependent for its demonstrations upon the 
women of the East End. The East End women were more used to 
turning out in numbers, for many of them had done so in connection 
with Labour demonstrations, and at the very beginning of our London 
campaign it was natural for our organizers to rely mainly upon them. 
It was, however, the right and duty of women more fortunately placed 
to do their share, and the larger share, in the fight for the vote which 
might be, whatever our hopes to the contrary, long and hard. Besides, 


critical murmurs of ‘stage army’ were being, quite unjustly, made by 
Members of Parliament about the East End contingents, and it was 
evident that the House of Commons, and even its Labour members, 
were more impressed by the demonstrations of the feminine bour- 
geoisie than of the feminine proletariat. My democratic principles and 
instincts made me want a movement based on no class distinctions, and 
including not mainly the working class but women of all classes. 

No ! We must show no respect of persons. An individual gift for 
command and organization, united with freedom from domestic and 
other circumstances, gave the title to manage departments of the work. 
Consequently it was sometimes found in our W.S.P.U. that directions 
would be given by a junior in age to seniors, or by one of less to those 
of more social consequence. But true equality reigned with us be- 
tween women of every class. All belonged to the aristocracy of the 
Suffragettes. The recollection that remains with those who took 
part in the movement is that life in those days was a big and a fine 

Campaigns in London were increasing our membership by en- 
abling us to reach the women whose interest had been roused by the 
militant action of the past months. The weekly Hyde Park meetings 
near the Reformer’s Tree were a great recruiting ground. In those 
days audiences in Hyde Park were larger and more representative than 
they would perhaps be now, when the motor-car and bus carry folk 
farther away. Some of our best members were found at the Hyde Park 
meetings. It was a great thing to notice the faces in every audience and 
to enlist in our ranks the women of promise. There would be a light in 
the eye, a set of the mouth and an expression of the face! ‘She is one 
of ours: she has the makings in her.’ Our movement was largely built 
of personal initiative and responsibility. Especially in the early days, 
every individual adherent counted for much. 

A great discovery was Mrs. Tuke, who for the longer part of the 
W.S.P.U.’s existence was honorary secretary. Mr. and Mrs. Pethick- 
Lawrence had met and greatly liked her on their homeward voyage 
from South Africa, whence she was returning after the death out there 
of her husband, a young Army officer. Mrs Pethick-Lawrence invited 
her to luncheon, I being also a guest. She came, still in mourning, 
gentle and beautiful, the last woman in the world, it might have been 
supposed, to join a militant movement. Yet when, after luncheon, I 
remarked: ‘I must go now and chalk pavements for a meeting’ (for 



leaders were still at the chalking stage), what did she say but ‘I’ll come 
and chalk pavements too!’ I knew, then, that she was of the right stuff, 
and all the more as she did her chalking with such a will, and laughed 
when a rude errand boy called her youthful self ‘You old fooll’ From 
that day onward she was one of us. 

The first by-election at which our anti-Govemment policy 
became generally understood was at Cockermouth. I went there to 
prepare for the campaign. Two other speakers, Teresa Billington and 
Mrs. Coates Hansen, were to follow. We knew not a soul in the whole 
constituency. However, the hotel people, the newspaper people, the 
police and everyone else, seemed very glad of a visit from the Suffra- 
gettes. I announced an open-air meeting, hired a lorry as platform and 
three chairs, one for each speaker, and awaited the other two. A tele- 
gram: they could not come! Nothing for it, then, but a meeting with 
one speaker, three chairs and an audience. A large crowd was waiting. 
I apologized for the absence of my colleagues, was chairman and 
speaker in one, and begged them all, with reasons why, to vote against 
the Government. It was the most friendly audience, we all enjoyed 
the evening, and a meeting was announced for the morrow. Came the 
morrow and another telegram: still the other two could not arrive. 
Again three chairs, one speaker and much apology, and again the same 
friendly atmosphere. Another meeting with all three speakers was 
announced. The third day came and again the other two telegraphed: 
unable to come. This time when I joined my three chairs on the plat- 
form, everyone, the speaker, too, laughed long and loud. But we had 
a very pleasant meeting. The same thing happened for what seemed 
countless evenings, while in the daytime I was in other parts of the 
constituency. But at last the other speakers really came and we had a 
great campaign. These Cumberland people were all our friends. Most 
of them did what we asked, voted against the Government and kept 
the Liberal out, while even the others showed no rancour. 

There were three candidates in the field. Liberal, Conservative, and 
Labour, but we remained entirely and scrupulously independent of 
them all and their parties. We had started and were keeping the 
W.S.P.U. free of all political allegiance and it seemed that our inde- 
pendence of party stirred real indignation in some political quarters. 
The Conservatives were, perhaps, still serenely confident that their 


women would continue to help them, vote or no vote, but the Liberals 
were already feeling disturbed, and many Labour men were distinctly 
displeased that a women’s union should, at the by-elections, oppose 
Liberal candidates without supporting Labour. Yet we were simply 
pursuing that course of political independence which they thought 
best for themselves. It is evident that had we supported either the 
Labour or Conservative candidates we should have been reckoned 
simply as appendages of the Conservative or the Labour Party and the 
‘votes for women’ issue would have been dangerously obscured. Also, 
we should, by working for any one party, have alienated women 
whose preference was for one or other of the remaining parties. As it * 
was, we could rally women of all three parties and women of no 
party, and unite them as one independent force. We could not let the 
‘votes for women’ movement be a frill on the sleeve of any political 

Political independence of party was, it may here be said, the cause 
of a difference of view between Mother and myself, on the one hand, 
as the leaders of the W.S.P.U. who determined its policy, and the two 
younger daughters, who would have preferred to associate the 
W.S.P.U. with the Labour Party. This was a vital difference of policy, 
the more practically difficult because of their name and relationship. 
‘These things must be,’ doubtless, but would it were otherwise! The 
inevitable outcome was an ultimate political parting of the ways 
between those who stood for political independence of all parties and 
those who did not. This was only fair to W.S.P.U. members outside 
our family; for a policy divided against itself cannot succeed. Mother 
and I were ever insistent that W.S.P.U. members should accept our 
policy and maintain a united front, and it would have been unjust to 
them, and illogical favouritism, to make an exception in the case of 
relatives — though perhaps we may have been justly chargeable with 
having shown too long a little partiality, out of a natural desire to 
maintain family peace. 

The unfortunate experience of the Women’s Liberal Federation 
was sufficient warning against making our W.S.P.U. an ally of any 
party. The Women’s Liberal Federation had for years rendered im- 
measurable service to the Liberal Party, but though individually many 
Liberals would gladly have seen women enfranchised, the Liberal 
leaders had always placed other things first. The same was the case 
with the Conservative Party. Already there were some Labourists 



saying that other things must be dealt with before women got the vote. 
It was humanly natural that they, as men, should say so. Our business 
as women was to recognize this and act accordingly. 

While we highly appreciated the help given by individual M.P.S in 
their personal capacity, we did not believe that this support ought to 
be rewarded by support to their Party as a whole. The political parties 
did not like this independence but we did not want them to like it. We 
wanted their wish for the political alliance of women to kindle in them 
an effectual and decisive interest in our getting the vote! 

The autumn of 1906 saw us installed in the office at Clement’s Inn, 
which for the next six years was to be our stronghold. Adjacent to 
Fleet Street, it was highly convenient for the newspapers who were 
ever interested in the militant movement. 

Never lose your temper with the Press or the public is a major 
rule of political life. We never made that mistake. We liked the public, 
we even liked the Press. At any rate the journalists who interviewed us 
or reported our meetings seemed to us to be quite sympathetic and 
we suspected that their copy was touched up in newspaper offices by 
those who had no first-hand knowledge of the movement, and that 
they themselves were perhaps under instruction ‘not to encourage it’. 
Yet even exaggerated and distorted reports, which made us seem more 
terrible than we really were, told the world this much — that we 
wanted the vote and were resolved to get it. 

The sinews of war were coming in. Our honorary treasurer was 
unrivalled in her rare courage to ask others to give, as well as to give 
herself, and our campaign fund mounted phenomenally. This was 
financial militancy, which to the very last the Government, even by the 
threat to proceed against our individual subscribers, could not defeat. 
The contributors to the W.S.P.U. funds included most of the sur- 
viving suffrage pioneers of the earliest days. Some of the very richest 
women in the country were also among the contributors. Yet the 
W.S.P.U. workers themselves received very little. None were paid, 
apart from the clerical staff, unless they were taking definite or- 
ganizing responsibility. Speakers were not paid and there was no pay 
for militant action. No one, therefore, was in the movement for per- 
sonal advantage. The funds were mainly spent on rent and the other 
expenses of the campaign, printing and the like. Not the least generous 



of our subscribers were in fact our organizers, who cheerfully and self- 
regardlessly received so little money and gave so great service. 

Parliament reassembled in the autumn of 1906. The militants were 
there to make to the Prime Minister their demand for the vote. Re- 
ceived instead by his spokesman, they were given a negative reply, 
and on making speeches of protest they were ejected from t^ building 
and several — Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, Mrs. How-Martyn, Annie 
Kenney, Teresa BilHngton, Mary Gawthorpe, Sylvia, Adela, and last, 
but far from least, Mrs. Cobden Sanderson, were sent to prison. The 
daughter of Richard Cobden imprisoned by a Liberal Government! 
This was the strongest evidence of their real illiberalism. Had other • 
women of Liberal name and fame followed the fine example of 
Cobden’s daughter, the Government could have been driven to 

As it was, her action, and the Government’s treatment of her, 
decided a great number of women to join us. The arrests had, for the 
time, thinned our working force, but we who were outside were 
resolved not to waste the hour of opportunity. A manifesto was sent 
far and wide, declaring the facts and calling on women to join us. 
The General brought out her typewriter and worked night and day. 
Mrs. Despard and Mrs. Tuke came to the office daily. Jessie Kenney 
plunged into the work. A stranger. Miss Nichols, who lived in Green 
Street — that was all we knew about her — arrived with a typewriter 
and became instantly one of us. Alas, we gained her and learned her 
great quality only to lose her, for she fell ill and died of pneumonia. 
This was the first grief the movement had brought me. At that time 
many of our most valuable adherents joined us and the tide flowed 
strongly with us. Men were stirred to new sympathy. Mr. Pethick- 
Lawrence, roused by his wife’s arrest, suggested a great poster of ex- 
planation to the public and of protest against the Government’s treat- 
ment of the women, which was put on the hoardings of London, and 
he entered upon the valuable self-imposed task of strengthening the 
business side of the movement. Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence’s whole family 
stood by her. Her sister helped the Union, her brother-in-law formed 
the Men’s League for Woman SuflFrage which, with the later Men’s 
Political Union, questioned Cabinet Ministers and gave great aid to the 
cause. Mrs. Cobden Sanderson, with her two sisters, Mrs. Cobden 
Unwin and Mrs. Cobden Sickert, were three graces indeed, and gave 
one a retrospective liking for Cobden pere — ^the two at liberty were in 



complete solidarity with their imprisoned sister. Her husband, dis- 
tressed for, yet proud of her, would desert his Doves Press and come 
to our office to cheer us on. Certainly our prisoners’ mothers and 
fathers, husbands and children were in most cases very forgiving to 
us and very loyal to the prisoners. Some of our prisoners, it is true, 
faced the added ordeal of family vexation, at any rate for a time. 
Generally, however, their relatives were eventually appeased. 

Another important by-election occurred in Huddersfield, where 
Mother appealed so effectively to the electors to vote against the 
Government that had imprisoned Cobden’s daughter that Cobden’s 
daughter and her fellow prisoners were released in the middle of their 
sentence. When Cobden’s daughter and the others appeared in the 
constituency public enthusiasm reached its height. In spite of the 
Government candidate’s poster of appeal to the men of Huddersfield: 
‘Don’t be misled by Socialists, Suffragettes and Tories’, the Govern- 
ment were deservedly defeated. Our by-election policy was doubly 
advantageous. It often turned the scale against the Government and 
thus helped to wear down their resistance to woman suffrage, and it 
gave the best opportunity for educational propaganda, because the 
public were caught at a moment when they were especially interested 
in political matters. Defeated Liberal candidates were able to report to 
the Cabinet the adverse influence of the Suffragettes and even those 
elected could give true forewarning of the ultimate ill effect upon the 
Liberal cause of refusing votes to women. 

Direct communication with Cabinet Ministers we ourselves main- 
tained by visiting their meetings. Immediately a meeting was an- 
nounced in any part of the country, tickets were procured and our 
local members, often reinforced from London, prepared to question 
the Cabinet Minister concerned — and to take the consequence, how- 
ever dangerous. 

I remember Mr. Asquith’s meeting in a certain city. The expanding 
work of the Union, with the speaking and organization which it threw 
upon me, had sometimes kept me from such expeditions. But I felt 
I must see for myself how our women were now faring on these 
missions. Despite all precautions, a goodly number of us were present, 
unknown to those in charge of the meeting. Mr. Asquith appeared; in 
due course began to speak. Then it came: ‘Votes for Women!’ Roar of 


anger — or excitement — from that multitude of men! Asquith silent. 
Stewards and other men rush at the woman, drag her from her vantage 
point, and eject her. The rest of us sit motionless — or we shall be 
thrown out before due time. Noise gives way to a sort of exhausted 
silence. The enthusiasm has gone out of the meeting. It is all very flat. 
Mr. Asquith starts again, says something that simply invites the 
comment ‘But you don’t give women the vote!’ Shouts from the 
massed men, half angry, and half enjoying the thrill of a row. Wonder- 
ing, no doubt, what the eminent speaker may say afterwards if they 
refrain, the stewards are zealous in ejecting this second questioner, and 
some rougher elements in the audience add to the violence of the act. 
One after another, our women make their protest — and some of their 
remarks on votes for women are particularly apt! 

Mr. Asquith was losing his calm. He did not like it and liked it less 
and less. I watched him closely. As a speaker already of some experi- 
ence, I could not help criticizing his attitude towards interjections and 
those who made them. How would Mr. Asquith have liked some of our 
experiences:* Mice, poor little creatures, live and dead, flung at us, 
tomatoes, flour, stones, often concerted and continuous shouting and 
stamping. Sometimes at the open-air meetings we were in positive 
danger through the roughness of gangs of disturbers and the conse- 
quent surging of the crowds. The bad example of the Government in 
ejecting women from their meetings, and arresting women for asking 
to be received in deputation, was mainly, if not entirely, responsible for 
such rowdyism. 

Yet we would never have interrupters turned out: we renounced 
absolutely the use of physical force in dealing with opponents at our 
meetings. A political hothouse plant, this Asquith! Obstinate, not 
strong! He could not stand fire! 

That meeting was my opportunity of taking the measure of the 
opponent with whom we had to wage eight years of warfare, halted 
only by the world war itself. 

When all our women had made their challenge and been thrown 
out, and Mr. Asquith seemed near to his peroration, I felt that I had 
heard enough but that he must hear some more. So with the strongest 
and deepest lung- and voice-power, usually reserved for our very 
largest Hyde Park meetings, I said my say and continued to do so for 
as long as that strength, which determination lends, enabled me to 
cling to my seat and delay the process of ejection. 



When Mr. Asquith spoke in another city Mother herself had a 
memorable experience. It was not really our plan that she, as queen of 
the movement, should attend Cabinet Ministers’ meetings. That was 
too much honour for them! She, therefore, was to address a big rival 
demonstration in the open air, while a number of our members inter- 
rupted Mr. Asquith at the meeting. A leading Liberal woman, when 
Mother remarked that women would certainly be thrown out of the 
meeting for questioning Mr. Asquith, replied that such a thing could 
not happen in that city, where women had done so much for the 
Liberal Party. Mother thereupon decided to put the matter to the 
proof and, accompanied by this trustful Liberal woman, entered the 
meeting and seated herself in the front row of a section set apart for 
the wives and daughters of local Liberal leaders. Mother sat silently 
until Mr. Asquith had finished his discourse. Then she rose and told 
the chairman that she would like to put a question to Mr. Asquith. 
Hesitancy on the platform! So she at once inquired whether Mr. 
Asquith did not think that women had a right to influence the govern- 
ment of the country through the vote. The stewards seized her by the 
arms and shoulders and pushed and dragged her from the hall. 

That Liberal woman resigned from the Women’s Liberal Asso- 
ciation and joined the W.S.P.U. 


1 907 — Parliament 

The WomerCs Parliament — Work at Clement's Inn — The 
Dickinson Bill — Mrs* Pankkurst no longer Registrar — 

The Womens Freedom League 

A women’s parliament, as we called it, began our campaign 
for 1907. This followed a large procession, convened and mar- 
shalled by the non-militants, in which, by their friendly invi- 
tation, we also had a part. This procession and the big meeting that 
ensued did not obtain the hoped-for response from the Government. 

Our Women’s Parliament was therefore more than a parley. It was 
the first of many such Parliaments held in the Caxton Hall, which, as 
the nearest available rallying point to the House of Commons, we 
made the base of operations. Enfranchised women may yet, as the 
militant movement takes its place in history, make pilgrimage to the 
Caxton Hall. If walls could give back today their record of past words 
and emotions, much would the walls of Caxton Hall reveal! 

The Men’s Parliament — we could not call it ours, since we had no 
share in its election — began its new Session on the same day, and we 
sat waiting to know if the Government had included votes for women 
in the Session’s programme. Bad news arrived. Action was imperative ! 

Those Women’s Parliaments were an ordeal. The tension, as the 
deputations went out to fight their way among the crowds and against 
the resistance of police, was painful indeed. I was in the first advance of 
1907. At other times I was on the platform to see others go and await 
the news — ^whether they were possibly admitted or probably repulsed 
— to receive them as they came back, battered and bruised, to see them 
return to the struggle. This was almost worse than being with them 
in the fray. To be chairman or speaker at one of these Women’s 
Parliaments was among the most testing experiences of the movement. 

The first deputation was led by Mrs. Despard. Gallant as always, 
she marched erect and determined, followed by a train of others, to 
Parliament Square. 




The House of Commons was guarded by rows of police who 
resisted the women’s advance. A long struggle followed, for the 
women would not abandon the attempt to reach their goal. Again and 
again, through the interminable afternoon and evening, this went on. 
Exhausted, coats rent, hats tom from their heads, the women would 
return to Caxton Hall for a rest and then set out again to renew the 
struggle. They would never yield, weary, even hurt as they were. 
Superior physical force was on the Government’s side, but they 
would show that their will could not be shaken, nor their spirit 

Fifteen women actually got through the police guard, made a rush 
into the House and began to hold a meeting in the lobby, only to be 
violently ejected and arrested. Other women in their hundreds made 
the same attempt, till the Square had been forcibly cleared and some 
sixty arrests had been made. 

In the Court, next morning, I was tried first, as having organized 
the proceedings. I maintained that the Government were responsible 
for the disorder, by their denial of political justice, and that their 
orders to the police had resulted in violence to a perfectly peaceful 
deputation, bent on a lawful mission, that of petitioning the Prime 
Minister whom they could not, being voteless, approach through 
elected Parliamentary representatives. The magistrate, Mr. Curtis 
Bennett, declared that ‘these disorderly scenes must be stopped’. I 
quite agreed, but said that depended not upon women but upon the 
Government. ‘There can be no going back for us,’ I said, ‘and more 
will happen if we do not get the vote which is our right.’ 

As we again declined on principle to pay fines, imprisonment fol- 
lowed, of seven days for some, of three weeks for Mrs. Despard, 
Sylvia and some others, of two weeks for myself and some more. For 
once, we were placed in the first division. This meant wearing our own 
clothes, being supplied, if we wished, with meals from outside, with 
newspapers, books, and facilities for pursuing our professions or 
trades. Accordingly, I summoned my secretary, but even with first 
division gilt on the bars, the fact of imprisonment is inimical to any 
initiative work. One could not have led from prison, in the sense of 
planning and directing action, as one could lead from exile. Exile 
simply meant long-distance control and in some respects gave ad- 
vantage as well as disadvantage. Prison is quite another matter. 

1^07 — PAKLIAMENT 77 

The New Year, 1907, had found the Women’s Social and Political 
Union organized for the march to victory: with a growing member- 
ship, a fine band of organizers and speakers, funds which expanded 
to meet the expanding needs of the movement, a headquarters well 
staffed and equipped, new offices opening and new branches forming 
outside London. Throughout the year we went on deepening founda- 
tions and enlarging and strengthening the fabric of the Union. The 
weekly ‘at homes’, which began in our office and overflowed it, were 
transferred to the Portman Rooms and overflowed them, and then 
every Monday filled the large Queen’s Hall, were due to the initiative 
of Mrs. Tuke. ‘People ought to know you, they don’t realize what 
Mrs. Pankhurst and the rest of you are like,’ she declared. These 
gatherings became an invaluable part of our programme. There we 
explained past actions and announced those to come, there we dis- 
pelled misunderstandings, won new members, and called for service, 
thence we sent our messages to the Government. Now, as I sit in the 
Queen’s Hall at some concert, I go back in memory and see again 
Mother speaking and the hall filled with women, alive, individualized 
and yet united in devotion to the great cause. 

The spirit of the movement was wonderful. It was joyous and 
grave at the same time. Self seemed to be laid down as the women 
joined us. Loyalty, that greatest of the virtues, was the keynote of the 
movement — first to the cause, then to those who were leading, and 
member to member. Courage came next, not simply physical courage, 
though so much of that was present, but still more the moral courage 
to endure ridicule and misunderstandings and harsh criticism and 
ostracism. There was a touch of the impersonal in the movement that 
made for its strength and dignity. Humour characterized it, too, in 
that our militant women were like the British soldier who knows how 
to joke and smile amid his fighting and trials. 

If only the Liberal leaders had also been, like the Suffragettes, 
gifted with a sense of humour! 

Clement’s Inn, our headquarters, was a hive seething with activity. 
Mother and Mrs. Tuke had their honorary secretaries’ office. Mrs. 
Pethick-Lawrence and her assistant, Mrs. Sanders, treasured the money 
in their offices, the Pethick-Lawrences jointly edited Votes for Women. 
The large general office housed Miss Kerr and a battalion of secretaries 
and typists, with place for voluntary workers and a comer for tea. My 
own office adjoined it and next to this was Jessie Kenney’s office, where, 



with the aid of Miss Hambling, plans for pestering Cabinet Ministers 
were laid and the most diversified measures were taken. Press-cuttings 
and reference books were housed beyond. General Flora Drummond’s 
ojffice was full of movement. As department was added to department, 
Clement’s Inn seemed always to have one more room to offer. And so 
on, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly! All the time, watching, attacking, 
defending, moving and counter-moving! It was indeed a question of 
‘I shall not cease from mental fight’. Yet how glorious those Suffragette 
days were! To lose the personal in a great impersonal is to live! 

The policy of opposing Government by-election candidates until 
women should be granted the vote became after 1907 a still more 
prominent part of our campaign. Mother, aided by Mrs. Massy, Mrs. 
Martel, the Brackenbury sisters and other of our speakers, went from 
by-election to by-election, urging electors to vote against the Govern- 
ment, unless and until they granted women the vote. Mother might 
have been a candidate herself, so far as work went — indeed hers was a 
harder task, for whereas the candidates fought only their own cam- 
paign, she electrified every constituency in turn. In the earlier days, 
she would perhaps find indifference or even hostility. The first meeting 
would change all that — the Press, the public, would be won by her 
courage in face of hostile shouting and even of missiles at times, and 
before they knew it it would be, ‘We glory in your pluck,* and the 
newspaper correspondents would be telegraphing reports of the public 
enthusiasm for Mrs. Pankhurst, her helpers, and her cause. 

Mother, although so much concentrated upon her chosen task, 
was versatile and could always meet persons of other interests on their 
own ground. She kept her eyes and ears open to ideas and doings in 
many fields, the dwellers therein being ever surprised and charmed 
that this ‘woman of one idea’ was interested and informed as to their 
special subjects. After all, to understand one thing very well and deeply 
is to have intercommunication with all others, for in their heights and 
depths all great subjects are related; their roots intertwine, their 
branches interlace. Mrs. Pankhurst, if only by her political gifts and 
experience, had the freedom of many intellectual cities! Many persons 
would have known this of her, but for the extreme social reserve 
imposed upon her, as upon us all, by the exigencies of militant policy. 
A certain mystery enhanced the reputation of the militants for in- 
flexible purpose. Mother’s gentleness and charm, had they known it 
too well, might have misled the opponents as to the steel strength of 

1907 — PARLIAMENT 79 

her determination to fight to the end for women and their right to 

Great stir was made by the Women’s Parliament and much 
sympathy aroused. Some Members of Parliament, who had witnessed 
the treatment of women outside the House of Commons, put questions 
of protest and criticism to the Government. 

In this favourable atmosphere Mr. (afterwards Sir Willoughby) 
Dickinson, having gained in the ballot a place for the second reading 
of a Bill, decided to introduce a Bill to give votes to women on the 
same terms as men. 

This was fortunate for us. It was still more fortunate for the 
Government, for a golden opportunity was theirs to let Mr. Dickin- 
son’s Bill pass the second reading and then adopt it and carry it through 
its final stages into law. This would avert further militancy and bring 
forty years of patient pleading to a happy end. 

The Government’s decision was still unknown, the fate of the 
Women’s Enfranchisement Bill was still in the balance, when Mother 
received a letter of great importance to her. This letter concerned the 
official position she had held ever since she had been widowed. The 
letter was from the Registrar-General. Someone, he said, had com- 
plained — ^who the complainant was she did not know — that her activi- 
ties in the direction of political agitation were exercised in a manner 
and to an extent that were detrimental to the proper performance of her 
duties as Registrar of Births and Deaths. 

Mother had never been to prison. No charge had been made against 
herj she had never been arrested. Her personal activities had been 
exclusively non-militant, because, for the sake of her youngest child 
Harry, still a schoolboy, she did not feel justified, if she could avoid it, 
in risking to that extent the loss of her income and her home. The 
deputy-registrar was Aunt Mary, who was on duty in Mother’s 
absence, but Mother, with her gift of being, as it were, everywhere at 
once, used to take the most extraordinary measures to get back, by 
night trains, in order to be in her office during the hours officially 
appointed for her attendance. No shadow of complaint had ever 
reached her, from any member of the public. 

The Registrar-General proceeded in his letter to say that he 
himself had noticed in the public Press reports of the prominent part 



Mother had taken in political meetings, not only in and near Man- 
chester, but in places as distant as London and Aberdeen, and, inde- 
pendently of the letter of complaint referred to, he had himself felt 
grave doubts as to whether the amount of time and energy she was 
devoting to these matters was compatible^^with the personal attention 
to her duties and responsibilities as Registrar, which he was bound to 
require of her. 

The final words of this letter intimated that although the Registrar- 
General was ready to give full consideration to any explanation 
Mother might wish to offer, he ‘warned’ her in her ‘own interest’ that 
her association with public affairs, as reported in the Press, iappeared to 
him already to have exceeded those reasonable limits that are per- 
missible to a person holding an official appointment. « 

Mother was thus threatened with the loss of her post, its income, 
and also the pension for her later years which went with it. Her post, 
owing to developments in the district, promised to become one of the 
most financially remunerative Registrarships in the whole country. 

Although no publicity at that stage could be given to the matter, 
Mother might have been wise to seek some outside advice. In personal 
matters she was extremely reserved, but this was a matter more than 
personal. She was summoned to choose between abandoning her work 
for the vote or relinquishing her post. Of course, she would be released 
from the dilemma if the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill wete, carried, 
and all other women who would otherwise stiffet, for the sake of the 
vote, would be spared also. 

Mother waited three days — ^until the second reading of the 
Women’s Enfranchisement Bill. i The Bill was lalkeii out by a sup- 
porter of the Government! 

Mother resigned her post. 

The Registrar-General ‘with regret’ accepted her resignation. 

The destruaion of the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill and the 
deplorable method of ‘talking-out’ employed for its destruction 
roused a natural indignation. Again, as in 1905, and in 1906, the 
Government, who could have made a clear way for the Bill to be 
carried, had chosen war with women. They forgot that they had to 
deal with the descendants bf men and womm who had in past genera- 
tions striven for political and constitutional liberty. 

Mrs. Drummond, Mrs. Pankhurst and Christabel being arrested 
by Inspector Jarvis 

Lady Constance Lytton, Annie Kenney, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Christabel Pankhurst, Sylvia Pankhurst 



Viscountess Harberton, a Suffragist of many years’ standing, 
volunteered to lead the deputation of petition and protest. Hundreds 
followed her. She left the Caxton Hall to find a strong force of police 
at the very doors. Undismayed, she pressed on, the others with her, 
and, as last time, a struggle raged for hours, the women trying again 
and again to make a way through the police who were guarding the 
Government against their presence. 

An internal problem of management arose at this point^ which was 
solved r^iAs which were all to the good in the end, because two 
org^Lsa^ons existed where only one had been before. The W.S.P.U. 
had been foundb^ ahd led by Mother and myself, upon our own 
initiative a|idj?esppnsibility. Nobody asked us to do it. We thought 
we s»(V a'h(^d and we met that need, according to our best judgment 
aa<d'ib|ll^’ We^aped the policy of the W.S.P.U. We resolved upon 
and adopted militancy. Leaders, in fact, from the very beginning, 
though lve ourselves did not introduce the title, we had continued to 
lead. There had never been a W.S.P.U. committee in the ordinary 
sense nor an annual conference to elect it. We went ahead and the others 
with us. Nothing could be happier and nothing more effective. How- 
ever, one day in 1906, in the full swing of the work in London, one 
of our people said to me: ‘Don’t you think we ought to have a consti- 
tution npw and hold an annual conference and let the members elect 
the committee?’ I was astonished by the suggestion. The idea of 
diverting at|ention from the cause, to constitution-making, conference- 
dQrr^nittee-^lectiQg, struck me as incongruous. Besides, I 
had in my earKfisf suftikge «xperieilce acquired a distaste for com- 
mittee in, connection with what should be i temporary campaign for a 
specific object. By instinct and reason, I was apprehensive of the en- 
trance of ‘politics’ into our Upion — ^with the running of candidate 
agaipst candidate for the committee. Why change the existing regimel 
Unity, harmony, enthusiasm, earnestness, and happiness prevailed in 
our ranks. No one was obliged to join the W.S.P.U. or to stay in it, 
if she did not so wish. No one need subscribe to its funds or share in 
its work, still less need anyone share in militancy, save of her own free 
will. ‘Don’t you trust the members?’ I was ask^. Of course I trusted 
our splendid members, I said. What I might well have said wasJ ‘And 
I hope that they trust Mother and me to lead them better than a com- 

^ Aiso in October 1907 tbe first issue of die paper FMsfor Women was publidied. 




However, stung by the suggestion that I did not trust our brave 
and devoted members, I assented, against my instincts and judgment, 
to the change suggested and somehow, by common consent, we 
glided into it. 

The first annual conference was held, the obvious committee was 
elected — all went on as before. Then as election day, that is to say, 
the date of the second annual conference, approached, a certain unrest 
was felt, electioneering began, rumours ran concerning who would be 
re-elected to the committee and who would not. Mrs. Pankhurst and 
Christabel would win the election, of course, and Mrs. Pethick- 
Lawrence, the inimitable treasurer, too, but some, if not all, of our 
original choice and appointment might be replaced by others of a 
different point of view! Canvassing, with the inevitable comparison of 
merits, was in danger of distracting members from the supreme object 
of overcoming the resistance of Party politicians to the enfranchise- 
ment of women. It was as though in the midst of a battle the Army 
had begun to vote upon who should command it, and what the 
strategy should be. Mother and I were plainly told by Mrs. Pethick- 
Lawrence that she had come into the movement because she had confi- 
dence in us and our policy, and that unless we continued to lead, she 
must reconsider her position. Mother and I were not the ‘bom auto- 
crats’ we have been reported to be. We had no love of power for the 
sake of power. The vote for women was all we wanted and when the 
vote was won we did not cling to leadership. Perhaps it would have 
been better for the women if Mother herself had done so! As long as 
the fight for the vote was in progress, definite leadership was certainly 
needed, and when Mother and I were fully convinced that this 
was in jeopardy, we were prepared to be, temporarily, ‘complete 

Mother accordingly summoned a special meeting of members in 
Essex Hall to consider a matter of grave importance. She informed this 
meeting that in view of developments to which she need not more 
plainly allude, she had decided for the good of the movement that the 
second annual conference of the W.S.P.U. should not be held. Mrs. 
Pethick-Lawrence briefly expressed her agreement with Mrs. Pank- 
hurst. One of those present asked whether this meant fhat there would 
be no more conferences and elections of committee. I said that it did. 
Finally, Mother invited all who were ready to follow her, as their 
leader from the beginning, to do so still, and suggested that any who 

1907 — PARLIAMENT 83 

were not in sympathy with her decision should form an organization 
of their own. This they did and thus there were two militant oi^aniza- 
tions instead of one, and all ended happily. 

The W.S.P.U. was under Mrs. Pankhurst’s banner. The Women’s 
Freedom League was under the banner of Mrs. Despard, Mrs. Billing- 
ton-Greig, Mrs. How-Martyn, Mrs. Holmes, and others. The rippled 
waters were soon calm and each of the two organizations had its sphere 
of operation in the women’s war. 

The W.S.P.U. was organized and led in much the same way as the 
Salvation Army under General Booth. Our organizers and members 
found our leadership perfectly compatible with their own freedom to 
develop their activities, and indeed they often astonished themselves 
and their friends by their ability and initiative. They knew ‘where they 
were’ and to whom they were accountable. 

Our watchword was really ‘Come on!’ We asked them to do 
nothing we had not done, or were not prepared to do, ourselves. The 
situation which resulted in the forming of the Women’s Freedom 
League meant distress at the time, and yet it need not have done so, 
if all concerned had then seen it for what it really was — a hiving off of 
the Suffragette swarm. As an army has different regiments, so may a 
movement, and all the woman suffrage societies, with their different 
leaders and different methods, were united in aim. 

The internal situation adjusted, all thoughts and energies were 
again concentrated entirely on the main issue. Far from regretting the 
existence of a new militant society, we wished that all the other woman 
suffrage societies would turn militant. Had the National Union of 
Woman Suffrage Societies taken to militancy, our joy and thankful- 
ness would have been beyond words. If Mrs. Fawcett and Mother had 
stood together at the door of the House of Commons, it might have 
opened. The Prime Minister could not easily have fought both wings 
of the women’s movement. 

One day the non-militants gave a dinner to our prisoners. We 
highly appreciated this act of solidarity and moral support. Had they 
shared our fare in prison, it would have meant still more. 

I have lately been touched by learning that Mrs. Fawcett did 
consider with earnesmess whether she should become militant, though 
she decided to the contrary, on the ground that the W.S.P.U. was 
autocratically managed and was developing a stronger militancy. 
Had we known of this at the time, we should have said that a greater 



political effect would have been produced by the existence of another 
militant society, independent of ours, and pursuing its own policy. 

As to leadership, this, as I see it, is not a tyranny, but rather a task 
resembling that of the conduaor of an orchestra. I cannot see and hear 
an orchestra at work, each player delighting in his own part and the 
intermingling parts of all the rest, and in the unanimous response to 
the conductor’s beat, without thinking of our W.S.P.U. . . . 


1908 — Growing Activity 

Aberdeen^ Mid-Devon and Leeds Elections — Second fPomen's 
Parliament — First Albert Hall Meeting — Peckham Election 
— Mr. Churchill’s Election Fight — Mr. Asquith’s Chal- 
lenge — Hyde Park Demonstration — Newcastle 

T he announcement of another Women’s Parliament opened 
our year’s campaign. Its purpose again was to consider the 
programme to be laid by the Government before the other 

The Parliamentary recess had given many opportunities for 
questions at Cabinet Ministers’ meetings. Haldane, Harcourt, Buxton, 
Bums, and others had been firmly interrogated: ‘Will the Government 
include Votes for Women in the King’s Speech.^’ 

In anticipation of the Prime Minister’s meeting, the Aberdeen 
branch of the Women’s Liberal Association had passed a resolution 
in which, while dissociating themselves from the militants and their 
methods, they urged upon the Government the ‘necessity’ of intro- 
ducing a Bill giving votes to women ‘in order that they might safe- 
guard their own interests’. In an accompanying letter they said that 
the Government’s delay in doing so was ‘placing a severe strain upon 
their loyalty’. The Aberdeen Free Press, commenting upon this reso- 
lution, remarked that the Liberal women’s adoption of a non-militant 
policy was, ‘with the connivance of the party managers, being cited 
as conclusive evidence that Liberal women do not want the vote’. 

We militants had, of course, arranged to question Mr. Asquith 
at his meeting, but consented — ^when appealed to by the men Liberals 
of Aberdeen — to refrain, on condition that the Liberal women should 
be permitted to put the necessary question. This the President of their 
Association did, but onlj to be told by the chairman that she was out 
of order, to be howled at by part of the audience and to receive, from 
Mr. Asquith, a negative reply. 




In all parts of the country Liberal women were getting restive. 
*We have been hewers of wood and drawers of water too long for the 
Liberal Party,’ said one of the leading personalities in the Women’s 
Liberal Federation. 

The Mid-Devon by-election was an important event of this time; 
the candidates were Mr. Charles Buxton (Liberal) and Mr. Morrison- 
Bell (Conservative). Our anti-Govemment election policy scored one 
of its greatest victories at Mid-Devon and the influence of Mother and 
her legions in that campaign was admitted everywhere. Mother and 
Mrs. Martel narrowly escaped serious injury, and Mother was indeed 
lamed for a time, when they were mobbed by the rougher elements 
among the defeated candidate’s supporters. ‘There can be no doubt 
that the Suffragists did influence votes,’ said the Manchester Guardian. 
‘Their activity, the interest shown in their meetings, the success of 
their persuasive methods in enlisting popular sympathy, the large 
number of working women who acted with them as volunteers — these 
were features of the election which, although strangely ignored by 
most of the newspapers, must have struck most visitors to the Con- 

The Mid-Devon victory was followed by others. An article in 
the Daily Chronicle^ containing sarcastic advice to Liberals on how to 
lose a by-election, counted the Suffragettes as one of the important 
forces now arrayed against the Government. In the Leeds election 
campaign, as in many another. Mother had the aid of Mrs. Massy 
whose mother. Lady Knyvett, was one of the most beloved of our 
senior members. 

A memorable demonstration closed the Leeds campaign. ‘Every- 
thing else paled,’ said the Daily Mail., ‘before the last effort of the 
Suffragettes. It was picturesque, exhilaratingly triumphant. Mrs. Pank- 
hurst and her followers had hit upon the idea of a torchlight procession 
to Hunslet Moor.’ 

When this Leeds election resulted in a considerable loss of ground 
for Liberalism, the Liberal Leeds Mercury editorially reminded the 
Conservatives that their candidate owed a good many votes to the 
activity of the Suffragettes who ‘by all accounts, created an un- 
expeaedly favourable impression in the Constituency’. Our object 
was, of course, not to win votes for the candidate of other parties, but 
simply to take votes away from the candidate of a Government which 
refused to enfranchise women. 


Parliament assembled. The King’s Speech proved silent as to 
Votes for Women. Our Women’s Parliament, assembled in Caxton 
Hall, resolved that a deputation should convey a message of protest to 
the Prime Minister. Fifty women were arrested, including Miss Naylor, 
Miss Florence Haig, Miss Winifred Mayo, Misses Georgina and Marie 
Brackenbury, Miss Elsa Gye, Miss Mary Phillips, and Mrs. Rigby. 

Next day they were tried. Mr. Muskett, prosecuting for the 
Crown, remarked that the powers of the Authorities were not ex- 
hausted, and that if such action as this continued, they would be 
obliged to prosecute the militant women under the Statute of Charles 
II, forbidding a procession of more than ten persons to the House of 
Commons. This would transfer the matter from the Police Court to a 
higher Court, but on this occasion he asked that the cases should be 
tried summarily. Forty-seven of the accused were bound over to keep 
the peace for twelve months. They chose the alternative of six weeks’ 

Mother, just returned from the Leeds election, appeared at the 
second session of the Women’s Parliament, and reported the en- 
thusiasm of the women of Leeds: ‘I have come back to London feeling, 
as I have never felt before, that we are nearing the end of this struggle,’ 
she said, ‘and that the time has come when I must act. If you carry 
the resolution that I am about to put to you, I volunteer from the 
Chair to be one of those to carry it to Parliament.’ She called for the 
immediate enfranchisement of women. Annie Kenney, seconding the 
motion, declared that she would follow Mrs. Pankhurst that day as 
as she had done since she first met her. Mother then left the hall, 
followed by Annie Kenney, Gladice Keevil, Mrs. Baldock, Mrs. 
Kerwood, Mrs. Sidley, Mary Frith, Annie Park, and Mary Keegan. 

The enemy’s threat to invoke the Act of Charles II held no new 
terror for us — prison was prison after all, under whatever Act imposed. 
A certain historic flavour, a new political dignity would be imparted to 
our struggle, were this ancient Statute really invoked against us. 

Mother, being still lame from the injury to her ankle suflFered at 
Mid-Devon, drove in a pony-cart, which she commandeered from a 
willing owner who happened to be driving past. The twelve others 
followed on foot. My account of what happened, written at the time, 
was this; 



Watching them in the street were many policemen and a curious 
crowd. There was something intensely moving in the sight of these 
women, one in a little humble cart, the others walking two by two 
behind. They were so small in strength, so few in number, and yet they 
had a purpose strong to overcome the resistance of the Government, 
supported as it is by every material resource. As the little procession 
moved away, a bystander said ‘That lot won’t get far’; and so it was, for 
they had not gone many yards before the police fell upon them, ordered 
the leader out of the trap, and broke the ranks of those on foot. What 
cannot be too often repeated is that our friends obeyed the directions 
of the police in every particular except that they persisted in walking, 
singly, on being told to walk singly, in the direction of the House of 
Commons. This purely political and technical offence was made the basis 
of a charge against them of obstructing the police. 

Mother and the other prisoners, being released on bail, appeared 
that evening at the Women’s Parliament. The hall was crowded and 
enthusiasm was at the highest pitch. ‘We shall never rest or falter,’ 
Mother said, ‘till the long weary struggle for enfranchisement is won.’ 
She never did ! 

The next day they were tried, but the Government’s threat was not 
fulfilled, the Act of Charles IPs time being left to slumber still. They 
were dealt with as were the prisoners of the preceding day and were 
imprisoned for like terms. 

‘When the history of the militant campaign comes to be written 
one of its chief events will be held to have been the Women’s Parlia- 
ment of February 1908.’ So I wrote in Votes for Women at the time 
and, viewed in retrospect, it has proved to be so. The warning de- 
livered by Mother then is itself historic. She said: 

My experience in the country, and especially in South Leeds, has 
taught me things which Cabinet Ministers have no means of knowing, 
and made me feel that I would make this attempt to see them and to 
urge them to reconsider their position before some disaster has occurred. 
Thousands and thousands of men and women followed our procession 
through the streets and attended our meeting on the Moor, and among 
them all was hardly a sneer or a jeer. But what impressed me most and 
made me a bit afraid, was the stem determination of the crowd to restrain 
any demonstration against us. We had to beg and plead with the people 
to spare the few who showed hostility to us, or serious consequences 
would have resulted. 


While Mother was in prison, a Woman Suffrage Bill, introduced 
by a private member, Mr. H. Y. Stanger, passed its second reading in 
the House of Commons by 271 votes to 92. Our next step was to ask 
for the Government support without which the Bill could go no 
further. Mr. Herbert Gladstone, a Member of the Government, said in 
the second-reading debate that the predominance of argument alone — 
and he believed we had won this — ^was not enough to win the vote. 
‘The time comes,’ said he, ‘when political dynamics are far more im- 
portant than political argument’. Alas, we had discovered that: it was 
the reason why we had taken to militancy. 

Militancy was at this time discussed by the legal lights forming the 
Hardwicke Society, and on their annual ladies’ night I was invited to 
take part in a debate on this motion: ‘That the grant of suffrage to 
woman has been indefinitely postponed by the violent methods of its 
supporters.’ The motion was defeated. Militancy triumphed. 

A great event of this year was our Albert Hall meeting, the first 
woman suffrage meeting ever held there and the largest indoor gather- 
ing ever held until then by anybody in support of votes for women. 
Mother’s prison sentence did not expire until after the date appointed 
for this meeting. Her place was left empty, save for a placard: ‘Mrs. 
Pankhurst’s Chair.’ The vast hall was overflowing, many being turned 
away. Intense determination animated that great throng of women. 
Thunders of applause broke out as the speakers entered — but they were 
above all for Mother and the other absent ones. 

An announcement was made. ‘The Government have, for some 
reason not unconnected with our present by-election campaign at 
Peckham, decided to release the prisoners, and Mrs. Pankhurst will 
after all take the chair tonight.’ An instant more and Mother was in her 
place. Those thousands of women were afoot, cheering and cheering 
again. Mother spoke. The contrast between the quiet, bare, narrow 
prison cell and this vast hall, this human throng, this vibrance and 
intensity, was almost overwhelming. Yet she rose as ever to the occa- 
sion. Finally she moved the resolution calling upon the Government 
to adopt and carry into law the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill then 
before Parliament. 

We sought to supply the needful dynamic by opposing the Gov- 
ernment at the Peckham by-election just then pending, and at the 



Battle of Peckham we won a great victory. A Liberal majority of 
2,339 was wiped out and the Government nominee defeated by 2,494 
votes. The successful candidate admitted that ‘a great feature of this 
election has been the activity of the supporters of woman suf^rage^ 
This Peckham campaign was one of the most inspiring in 
W.S.P.U. history. It enabled us to concentrate our forces. The meet- 
ings in Peckham Rye commanded the interest of London in general, 
and thousands came to them from far as well as near, and the London 
newspapers could see and report our doings at close range. ‘Everyone 
seems agreed,’ said the Pall Mall Gaiette^ ‘that the best speeches are 
being made by the lady suffragists. . . . Whatever may be one’s views on 
the question of Woman Suffrage, no fair-minded man can deny the 
remarkable ability with which it is presented by the women in 

Mother was released in time to crown the campaign and addressed 
what the newspapers called ‘a remarkable demonstration’ in the largest 
hall in the constituency. 

Is it not time [wrote Mr. St. John Ervine in the Nation] that Mr. 
Asquith gave up minimizing the importance of the Suffragists.^ I confess 
that this Peckham election has been a revelation to me. . . . You, Sir, can- 
not realize the influence which a speaker like Miss Christabel Pankhurst, 
fluent of speech, quick-witted, good-humoured, can exert on that great 
army ever present in each constimency which is always on the wobble. 

Our complete political impartiality was a powerful factor in our 
influence at elections. If we had been working, not simply against the 
Government, but for the Conservative Party or for the Labour Party, 
our influence would not have been a tithe, or indeed a hundredth part, 
of what it was. We should then have been suspected of sharpening a 
party-political axe upon votes for women as a grindstone. 

A Conservative or a Labour Government which did not give 
women the vote would have been opposed by us, precisely as we were 
then opposing the Liberal Government. 

The victory of Peckham was quickly followed by the victory of 
North-West Manchester. Mr. Winston Churchill, on his ministerial 
promotion, had to seek re-election. We were there in force to oppose 


him- Dramatic was the contrast between our first and second election 
fights in that constituency. In two short years, what an astounding 
change! In 1906 we were few and still feeble, making what many then 
thought futile interruptions at Mr. Churchill’s meetings. In 1908 we 
were many, strong, with public opinion on our side. Leaving Mr. 
Churchill’s meetings alone, we had meetings of our own, many 
meetings, magnificent meetings. In 1906 the Liberals won the election 
in North-West Manchester. In 1908 the Suffragettes won it. 

It was a famous victory. ‘Perhaps I ought to say a word as to one 
other vote I shall give,’ said Mr. Joynson Hicks, the successful candi- 
date. ‘I acknowledge the assistance I have received from those ladies 
who are sometimes laughed at, but who, I think, will now be feared by 
Mr. Churchill — the Suffragists. They have worked well for the cause 
they have at heart, and I congratulate them in having taken some part 
in the victory.’ 

The fame of the contest spread to other lands and the correspondent 
of the Paris Matin wrote; ‘One is able to remark, not without astonish- 
ment, that the influence of the Suffragettes on the election is very 

Of course our opposition to Mr. Churchill was not a personal 
matter. If he had produced a Government pledge to adopt and carry 
the Woman Suffrage Bill, then before Parliament, which had actually 
passed the second reading, we should at once have abandoned our 
opposition to him. All he offered us, however, was a statement that 
he would, as an individual, do his best to help women to get the vote, 
because they had, said he, not only a logical case, but their movement 
now had behind it a great popular demand and had thus assumed the 
same character as previous franchise movements. 

Here was evidence of what militancy had already done for the 
suffrage cause! 

To Dundee went Mr. Churchill, and the W.S.P.U. also, for 
another strenuous campaign. Here he was successful. Party spirit was 
strong, party allegiance more rigid at the time, in Scotland, than south 
of the Border. This fact meant a distinct setback to our work, because 
it so happened that Scotland was the scene of other by-elections just 
then, and thus our conquering election progress was checked for the 

Another misfortune of 1908 was the disappearance of the Prime 
Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and his replacement by Mr. 


Asquith. ‘C.-B.' was personally in favour of giving us the vote, though 
restrained from doing so by the bitter opposition of other members 
of his Government, and we believed that he would willingly have 
acceded to our demand as soon as we should have exerted enough 

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman it was who had counselled us to 
*go on pestering people*. One day, Annie Kenney and Mary Gaw- 
thorpe, finding themselves in the dining-car of a railway train with 
C.-B., then still Prime Minister, entered into conversation with him 
concerning our claim and our methods and found him essentially 
sympathetic. But he was tired, his days were already numbered and he 
passed from the scene, leaving us to meet and fight a harsher foe. 

Had Mid-Devon, Peckham, and North-West Manchester been fol- 
lowed by a few more such victories — or perhaps even one more — the 
Government would then have been compelled to grant women the 
vote. What hard years of struggle should we have been spared! 

‘In less than three years the women’s movement has conquered the 
most stubborn conservatism of all, the conservatism of the privileged 
sex,* acknowledged the Daily News. 

‘In less than three years’! Since October 1905 Mother and her 
W.S.P.U. had begun militancy, and had, as Mr. Baldwin in 1928 ex- 
pressed it, ‘fired the shot that rang round the world!* 

Militancy had brought woman suffrage so far into the region o* 
practical politics that a deputation of sixty Liberal members of the 
House of Commons waited on Mr. Asquith to ask him to give facilities 
for the enactment of Mr. Stanger’s Woman Suffrage Bill in the current 
session, or at least in the existing Parliament. Mr. Asquith observed 
that his own position with regard to woman suffrage was ‘a delicate 
one*. He had ‘not reached that state of grace* in which the members of 
the deputation were ‘so fully and firmly established*. To give, that 
Session, facilities for Mr. Stanger’s Bill was ‘wholly out of the 
question*. As to the remainder of that Parliament, his intention was to 
introduce an electoral reform measure for men only, and it would 
clearly be within the competence of the House of Commons to seek, 
by amendment or extension of this Government Bill, to effect the 
accomplishment of the great purpose they had in view. It was, he said, 
necessary that a great constitutional change of this kind must have 


behind it the support of the women of the country, as well as the 
present electorate. Thereupon — and this should be noted well in view 
of the sequel — Mr. Asquith was asked by Mr. Leif Jones, m.p., whether 
it might be distinctly understood that the proposed Reform Bill would 
be drafted on lines wide enough to admit of the inclusion of the sug- 
gested amendment giving votes for women. Mr. Asquith’s reply was in 
the affirmative. It would, he said, be a breach of the pledge he had given 
if the Bill in contemplation was not drafted in such a manner. 

We wholly objected to this project. We condemned and rejected 
Mr. Asquith’s proposition on grounds set forth in this letter published 
in The Times: 

Mr. Asquith and Woman Suffrage. 

To the Editor of The Times'. 


The reply of Mr. Asquith to the deputation of Liberal members 
of Parliament confirms the Women’s Social & Political Union in their 
determination to fight against the Government. 

In the first place, Mr. Asquith refuses to deal with the question this 
Session, either on his own initiative or by giving facilities to Mr. Stanger’s 
Bill. He reverts to the old Liberal policy of delay, the fruits of which we 
have seen so often before. 

In the second place, he now makes it clear that the Government have 
no intention themselves at any time during the present Parliament of 
introducing a measure of woman suffrage; and at the same time do in- 
tend to introduce a Bill dealing with electoral reform for the benefit of 
men alone. 

We are not in the least reassured by his reported statement that a 
woman suffrage amendment, moved by a private member, to this Bill 
would not, under certain circumstances, be opposed by the Government, 
as it is of too negative and vague a character to be of any value. More- 
over, the Government cannot shirk direct responsibility in this matter. 
Nothing short of a definite pledge of action this Session will satisfy the 
Women’s Social & Political Union, and unless this is given we shall 
continue to bring effective pressure on the Government. Our policy of 
opposing their nominees at by-elections, which has proved so successful 
in the past, will be vigorously pursued. And if, after our demonstration 
in Hyde Park on Sunday, June 21, the Government are still obdurate, 
we shall take it as a signal that further militant action is required to wring 
from them the necessary reform. 




A Liberal newspaper remarked that ‘a more mature and experi- 
enced leader than Miss Christabel Pankhurst would have understood 
that the pledge which Mr. Asquith has given is quite exceptionally 
definite and binding*. Unfortunately the event was to prove that 
Liberal journalism had not so correctly anticipated the future course of 
events as had the militant women. The danger was that if once uni- 
versal Manhood Suffrage were established, the barrier against women’s 
admission to the suffrage would be stronger than ever- The removal of 
the existing electoral disability of sex would mean the enfranchisement 
of about one and a half million women; under an unlimited franchise 
it would mean that women voters would be more numerous than men. 
It would incur, therefore, far greater opposition. We declined to adopt 
the self-destructive all-or-none policy suggested to us which would 
result in votes for all men and none for women. The Women’s En- 
franchisement Bill then before Parliament, but blocked by Mr. 
Asquith’s refusal of facilities, satisfied us because, as we said, it not 
only would admit women to the existing franchise, but would ulti- 
mately ensure to women a franchise as unrestricted as the franchise of 

We must, insisted Mr. Asquith, prove, in order to secure even his 
neutrality for a woman suffrage amendment, that a majority of women 
were behind it. We believed we had proved this. Mr. Asquith’s col- 
league in the Cabinet, Mr. Winston Churchill, had just acknowledged 
that, in regard to the support given by women to the suffrage question, 
‘it assumes the character that previous franchise movements have 
assumed’. We more than suspected that Mr. Asquith did not want to 
be convinced that the women of the country were behind woman 

However, in fairness to him as well as to women, we invited 
him, through a question obligingly asked at our request in the House 
of Commons, to state what proof he would accept, what test he would 
appoint, of women’s demand for the vote. He refused, as we expected, 
saying: ‘There is a variety of ways in which opinion can be expressed. 
It is not for me to say which is likely to be most effective.’ Mr. Asquith 
knew, and so did we, that any and all the evidence he might call for 
would be forthcoming. By his reply he reserved to himself the freedom 
to declare himself unconvinced by it. 

Proof we certainly gave. Mrs. Pankhurst was stirring the country 
from end to end — the women and the men too. The world watched the 


contest between Asquith and that woman, fragile, sensitive, but how 
ardent and heroic, who, as every witness understood, had pledged her 
life for the woman’s cause. 

The Asquithian challenge to prove popular support was taken up 
with, if possible, even greater energy. 

Great demonstrations were planned in London and the Provinces 
— and, as a climax, we appointed a Women’s Day in Hyde Park. It 
was to see the greatest franchise demonstration in all history. Mr. and 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence laid plans of a largeness and boldness equal to 
the need, and that greatest of all suffrage demonstrations magnificently 
crowned their efforts. 

The non-militants, like ourselves, were responding to Mr. 
Asquith’s challenge. They had held a most impressive procession 
representative of all the various interests and activities of women, 
which proceeded to the Albert Hall, the whole demonstration being 
the largest and most important they had held. 

We militants were also holding vast open-air demonstrations in 
other parts of the country, and these continued through the summer. 

Our Women’s Day arrived. Our seven processions converged 
upon Hyde Park, bands playing, purple, white, and green banners 
flying. The multitude in Hyde Park was past numbering. From twenty 
platforms women claimed political liberty. The police, as ever on these 
occasions, co-operated most helpfully in directing traffic and making 
way for processions and speakers through the dense and friendly 
crowds. The Times reported: ‘The organizers had counted on an 
attendance of 250,000. That expectation was certainly fulfilled. Prob- 
ably it was doubled; and it would be difficult to contradict anyone who 
asserted confidently that it was trebled. Like the distances and numbers 
of the stars, the facts were beyond the threshold of perception.’ 

As a mark of appreciation of the service rendered by the police at 
the demonstration, the W.S.P.U. addressed to the Chief Commissioner 
of Police a letter of thanks with donations to the Police Orphanage and 
Police Relief Fund. 

What would Mr. Asquith say.^* We had eclipsed every peaceful 
demonstration made by men when asking for votes. What was the 
breaking down of the Hyde Park railings in the eighteen-sixties 
compared to the women’s mighty manifestation.^ Alas, to a party 



politician’s eye and ear a broken railing is more convincing than the 
mightiest meeting and the most earnest and reasoned verbal pleading! 

A letter was immediately despatched to Mr, Asquith informing him 
of the resolution carried in Hyde Park — ‘that this meeting calls upon 
the Government to grant votes to women without delay’ — and asking 
what action his Government intended to take in response to the 
demand of the great popular assemblage. 

Mr. Asquith’s reply did not tarry. He spent no time in consideration 
or in discussion with his colleagues. 

‘The Prime Minister desires me to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of yesterday and of the resolution adopted at the demonstration 
in Hyde Park, and to inform you that he has nothing to add to the 
statement made to a deputation of Members of Parliament on 20th May, 
a report of which appeared in The Times of the following day.’ This 
was Asquith’s only answer to the greatest franchise demonstration in 
history! For all the difference it made to him, we might have spared 
ourselves and all concerned the trouble of holding it at all! 

We sent the following statement, with the correspondence, to the 

The Prime Minister’s reply shows that the Government intend to 
ignore the mandate which was delivered to them by the great Hyde Park 

The Prime Minister, in the course of the statement to which he 
refers, stated it to be a condition of women’s enfranchisement that a 
popular demand should first be made. That condition the Women’s 
Social & Political Union has just fulfilled, by holding a demonstration 
which was by far the largest political gathering ever known in this 
country. In spite of this, the Prime Minister, without even consulting the 
Cabinet, replies that he has nothing to add to the highly unsatisfactory 
declaration which he made some weeks ago. It is thus quite evident that 
agitation by way of public meetings will have no effect in inducing the 
Government to grant votes to women, and that in order to secure this 
reform militant methods must once more be resorted to. 

Our Women’s Convention met in mingled enthusiasm and indig- 
nation. Time was not wasted in words, for they had proved vain. We 
were not assembled, said Mother, to discuss woman suffrage in the 
abstract, but for definite action. The resolution she was about to move 
would be carried to the House of Conamons by a small deputation of 


thirteen women selected from many volunteers. She hoped that Mr, 
Asquith would receive them, for she believed that they were doing the 
right and proper thing. Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence followed, saying that 
she was prepared to carry the message to the House of Commons, 
taking the risk of so doing, whatever it might be. Both speakers, with 
Miss Wallace Dunlop, Miss Florence Haig, Miss Clemence Housman, 
Miss Maud Joachim and others, thirteen in all, then went on their 
mission. They were met, on leaving the hall, by Police Superintendent 
Wells, who cleared their way as far as the House of Commons. The 
crowds that had assembled cheered them. The Prime Minister's 
illiberal contempt of the mighty demonstration of ten days earlier 
had moved the public to even greater sympathy with the women, whose 
militancy had thus been newly vindicated. 

Outside the House of Conunons stood the police, in strong force, 
headed by Inspector Scantlebury, who informed the deputation that 
he was instructed to bar their entry to the House and that the Prime 
Minister refused to receive them. Mother had promised to return, if 
possible, and report to the waiting convention, and the deputation 
withdrew. In anticipation of further action by the women, the general 
public was massing in Parliament Square. The evening tide of 
humanity, instead of flowing outward and homeward, was flowing 
inward to Westminster. Our women were making their way through 
the crowds to the House of Commons, demanding entrance. Some 
arrived by boat off the terrace; others entered Palace Yard by cab; one. 
Miss Jessie Stephenson, got inside the building. Parliament was 
guarded by police as against some dangerous and terrible enemy. By 
admission of Mr. Gladstone, the Home Secretary, one thousand, six 
hundred and ninety-four extra constables were on duty. Arrests were 
made and after trial the following day, twenty-seven women were im- 
prisoned, including Mother’s sister Mary, and Miss Logan, daughter of 
a Member of Parliament. 

Window-breaking began that night. It was women’s first use of the 
political argument of the stone. Mary Leigh and Edith New, taking 
counsel with no one, had gone to Downing Street carrying stones, and 
had flung them at the windows of the Prime Minister’s official abode. 
Defending this action in Court the next day, the two prisoners said that 
having tried every other means to attain their end, and having failed, 
they had had to take more militant measures. The responsibility for 
■what they had done rested on those who made women outlaws by the 



law of the land. These two were sentenced to two months' imprison- 
ment without the option of a fine. Many questions were asked in 
Parliament about them and about the treatment of the twenty- 
five prisoners who were serving terms of one or two months in 
default of finding sureties. Claims were made for the treatment of 
Suffragettes with the consideration due to their quality as political 

Meantime, Cabinet Ministers were being challenged by Suffra- 
gettes at every opportunity. Visiting the Manchester University, Lord 
Morley was presented with a petition and a copy of Votes for Women, 
while Mr. Haldane discreetly disappeared from view ere he could be 
interrogated as to his recent part in the Government’s dealing with the 

Mother was carrying the fight into Wales, where a by-election was 
in progress, besides addressing the immense open-air demonstrations 
held that summer in Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, the West 
Coimtry, the extreme North of England, and in Scotland. 

Another London by-election gave us an opportunity of procuring a 
vote of censure upon the Government, and at Haggerston their 
nominee was drastically defeated. 

Mr. Lloyd George was to speak in the Queen’s Hall in connection 
with the Peace Congress meeting in London. Nothing had been heard 
lately from him and so we welcomed the opportunity of question and 
answer which this Peace Meeting provided. The occasion was so 
appropriate! Suffragettes attended the meeting in goodly numbers, 
taking their place in the serried rows of peace-makers. Songs of peace 
were chanted: in due time Mr. Lloyd George arose. At his first mention 
of the word ‘Peace’ a woman rose and her voice rang out: ‘Peace 
should begin at home.’ Shouts greeted the woman’s words. Peace took 
flight from that meeting. Following Miss Macauley, the first protester, 
Mrs. Baldock caused a sensation by springing up on the platform from 
behind the speakers. Her voice was drowned by the angry cries from 
the audience and she was ejected by force. Mr. Lloyd George, at this 
point, assured the meeting of his belief in woman suffrage, but a 
third Suffragette inquired in clearest tone; ‘Then why don’t you see 
that we get it?’ 

Deeply in earnest as we were in our fight, we could not help 
relishing the comic touches that enlivened it. The pestering of Cabinet 
Ministers was rich in humour, though perhaps we saw the humour of 



it better than they did. I personally attached the very greatest import- 
ance to the humorous aspea of our campaign. For one thing, it eased 
the strain and burden of the so^nnities, the hardships of what was 
essentially and primarily a sacrificial campaign. It relieved the sadness 
that came of dwelling on the ill-results of the disfranchisement of 
women. Furthermore, while we Suffragettes had a natural or acquired 
immunity to ridicule, our opponents apparently had not, and so we 
had the best, and they the worst, of every joke. Women’s claim to the 
vote, and thus to political existence, had, until militancy began, been 
treated as a political jest and this jest now came back as a boomerang 
upon the Government. 

The best laugh is the last laugh, and that was already ours and 
would be to the end. 

Another international gathering, in favour of Free Trade, gave a 
fine Suffragette opportunity. Mr. Winston Churchill, chief speaker, 
having uttered the words ‘What have our Dominions done.^’, a Suffra- 
gette remarked: ‘Given votes to women, which you have not.’ Asked 
to desist, the Suffragette replied: ‘Your forefathers did as I have done 
until they got the liberty you enjoy.’ 

It was with triumphant glee that we read a notice in the Press 
stating that ‘It is understood that no ladies of British nationality are to 
be admitted to the dinner to be given by Mr. Harcourt to the members 
of the International Peace Conference. The object of course is to 
prevent a repetition of the Suffragist interruptions that occurred 
during Mr. Lloyd George’s speech at the Queen’s Hall.’ The Suffra- 
gettes had certainly scored ! 

The best of it was that there was another banquet, and a far more 
appetizing one, available just then for the Suffragettes. It was the Free 
Trade banquet given by the Cobden Club to the delegates of the 
International Free Trade Congress. Mr. Asquith was to attend that 
banquet and Mr. Asquith was the greatest of all attractions to the 
Suffragettes. It was none too easy to gain admission to this Free Trade 
Banquet. British women, though not, as at the Peace Banquet, un- 
conditionally banned, were all imder suspicion of being militant vote- 
seekers. Yet one of our women did get in. Said the functionary to 
whom she gave up her ticket: ‘We have to be so careful because of the 

The Prime Minister rose to speak. Our Suffragette let him continue 
a while. Then — ^her heart deeply stirred as she contrasted this feasting 



Premier with her comrades in bare cells eating prison fare — she inter- 
vened. With loud clear tone she demanded the vote. Hauled from the 
place, she repeated her accusing cry as long and often as she could 
make it heard. . . . 

Parliament had risen. Cabinet Ministers had gone holiday-making, 
leaving our women in prison. At last the gates opened to release Miss 
New and Mrs. Leigh. Their carriage was drawn by women, and fol- 
lowed by a procession to the Queen's Hall. Remarkable public sym- 
pathy was shown. ‘The really significant thing’ — the Dai/y News 
acknowledged editorially — was the ‘enthusiasm with which the pris- 
oners and their friends were received by the crowds’. It was ‘quite 
evident that the feeling of the people in general, and especially in 
London, is coming round to the side of the Suffragettes- It is courage 
that has done it — courage, persistence and the devotion that always 
wins respect and sympathy in the end’. 

Holidays hardly counted with the Suffragettes in their long-lasting 
war time! Open-air demonstrations continued in the Provinces. The 
London weekly rallies were transferred to the large Queen’s Hall. 

Mother, after a short holiday, punctuated by meetings on Deeside, 
sped to Newcastle-on-Tyne to fight the Government at the critical by- 
election there. Summoning her helpers, she wrote: ‘We must win this 
election. I am eager to fight a better fight than ever before.’ The cam- 
paign began with a storm, for a hostile element tried at the outset to 
drive her from the field. Mother ‘faced the music’, as the Newcastle 
jDai/y Chronicle expressed it, ‘with complete intrepidity’, and, as the 
North Mail reported: ‘Mrs. Pankhurst is by no means dismayed by 
the stormy scenes which accompanied her first meeting.’ 

A triumphal progress was the Newcastle campaign from that first 
meeting! Mother carried all before her. It was her election. The 
Liberal candidate, wrote the Newcastle Daily Chronicle^ had ‘a good 
deal more to fear from the confirmed “agin the Government” attitude 
of Mrs. Pankhurst and her bench- women, than from the ‘‘most earnest 
endeavours” of the opposing candldate\ 

When Holloway released its remaining Suffragette prisoners — 
Misses Florence Haig, Maud Joachim, Elsie Howey, Mary Phillips and 
Vera Wentworth, they too went to the by-election to appeal against 
their captors. Newcastle turned out to cheer them. It was a day of tri- 


umph. The whole city was roused, and working-men voters were fore- 
most in their enthusiasm. The Suffragettes won the Newcastle elertion, 
inflicting overwhelming defeat upon the Government. 

Speaking from the window of her hotel to the crowds assembled 
without, Mother said that Newcastle that day had given a verdict for 
true democracy. The Conservatives had gained a great victory, but she 
warned them that women would be as much against them if, when they 
came into office, they did not give women the vote. 

A leading manufacturer wrote to Mr. Asquith from Newcastle in- 
forming him of ‘the very great and unmistakable effect on the result 
that has been brought about by the efforts of the Suffragettes’. He 
went on: 

Since the Suffragettes came among us, they have in less than a fort- 
night, by their energetic canvassing and brilliant reasoning powers, 
aroused large numbers of sluggards, and converted large numbers of 
political waverers into becoming enthusiasts in their cause, and into 
showing their enthusiasm in the most practical manner by voting against 
a Government which has plenty of members who think favourably of 
votes for women but have not got beyond the thinking stage. The 
Suffragettes have undoubtedly also largely influenced the engineers’ 
votes. This election has, I and others feel, been won off their bat. Why 
not give them the vote and thus secure for the Liberal Party their 
energetic and brilliant argumentative powers at the next General 

Strengthened by this Newcastle victory Mrs. Pankhurst returned to 
London and addressed a letter to the Prime Minister regarding the 
Woman Suffrage Bill which, having months before passed its second 
reading, was still before the House of Commons. She wrote; 

At many large demonstrations held all over the country, resolutions 
have been carried with practical unanimity, calling upon ffie Govern- 
ment to adopt this Bill and pass it into law this year. At a succession of 
by-elections, the voters have shown unmistakably dieir desire that the 
Government shall deal with the question without delay. We shall esteem 
it a favour if you will inform us whether it is the intention of the Govern- 
ment to carry the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill during the Autumn 
Session of Parliament. . . . 


1 908 — Continued 

Rushing the House of Commons — Mrs. Baines^ Trial by 
Jury — Mr. Lloyd George* s Message — Women Excluded 

S UFFRAGE energies had not in the meantime been wholly spent 
at Newcastle — far from that! Propaganda meetings had been con- 
tinuing in London and country-wide. Mr. Asquith, Mr. Harcourt, 
Mr. Runciman, were all challenged by indignant women at their res- 
pective meetings. 

Not that the Suffragettes went scatheless. As the Liberal Press 
admitted, it was the women, and not the Cabinet Ministers, who were 
hurt at these meetings into which the women ventured. 

Fresh justification for the Suffragette methods was now provided 
by the Prime Minister’s refusal to grant facilities for the Woman 
Suffrage Bill in the Autumn Session. 

The following manifesto was issued to the members of the 

Parliament is about to meet to continue the work of legislation. The 
Government will endeavour to carry through their final stages certain 
measures already considered by the House of Commons. 

The Bill for the Enfranchisement of Women, which earlier in the 
year passed its second reading by a great majority, finds no place in the 
Government programme, although every effort has been made by women 
to convince the Cabinet that it is expedient, as well as just, that the dis- 
ability of sex should be removed without further delay. 

Great demonstrations, exceeding in size any ever held in support of 
any other question, have taken place all over the country. 

At the by-elections, the voters have voted against the Government 
on the issue of votes for women. 

To all these manifestations of the people’s will, the Government 
continue blind and deaf. 

It is for us who are called the militant women to take further action 


1908 CONTINUED 103 

and to show our determination to break down this obstinate resistance to 
our just demands. 

On the 13 th October we shall meet in the Caxton Hall and we have 
asked those who support our demands to assemble in Parliament Square. 

From our meeting in Caxton Hall will be chosen a deputation to go 
again, as deputations have gone before, to the House of Commons, to 
enter the House — if possible the Chamber itself — and lay our claim to 
the vote before the Government and Parliament. 

Women have the right, being voteless, to plead their cause in person. 
We shall insist on that right. . . . 

We know, the country knows, and the Government knows that our 
so-called militant action has forced the question of votes for women 
into the very forefront of practical politics. 

We have the support and sympathy of the best men and women. 
Public opinion is with us and we have only to press forward to win 
victory in the near future. 

On the 13th October, in Parliament Square, there will be many 
thousands of people to see fair play between the women and the Gov- 

Let us keep their support and co-operation by showing them, as 
we have done before, with what quiet courage, self-restraint and deter- 
mination women are fighting against tyranny and oppression on the 
part of a Government which has been called the strongest of modem 
times. It is by the exercise of courage and self-restraint and persistent 
effort that we shall win in this unequal contest. 

Thousands of our fellow countrywomen, who are unable by their 
circumstances to take an active part in the fight, are looking to us to 
obtain for them their political freedom. 

All over the world women are gaining hope from our efforts here in 

Let us then show the world on 13th October, 1908, that British 
women are determined to be free citizens of a free country before the 
year is out. 

Yours, in the women's cause, 


The date which was thus appointed was the third anniversary of 
our Battle of the Marne, that Free Trade Hall protest and first im- 
prisonment. In three years we had grown from a handful to a great 
host — from a little local movement to a nation-wide and on-sweeping 

Our friends, the general public, were told at a prior demonstration 



in Trafelgar Square of our plans and our need of their sympathetic 
presence on 13th October. 

The speakers in Trafalgar Square were Mother, Mrs. Drummond, 
and myself. Not until afterwards did we learn that in the great crowd, 
listening to our call for support, was a Cabinet Minister, none other 
than Mr. Lloyd George. His presence proved fortunate for us. At this 
meeting was distributed a leaflet which became famous. It bore the de- 
vice: ‘Men and Women — Help the Suffragettes to Rush the House of 
Commons.’ That word ‘Rush’ rankled in the feelings of the foe. It was 
the proximate cause of the first of our big trials. It brought Mother and 
me and ‘General’ Drummond into the dock, and two Cabinet Ministers 
into the witness-box. Little did we suppose, in composing that mo- 
mentous handbill, that so much would hang upon one short word 
‘rush’. At a loss for the mot juste, I had appealed to Mrs. Tuke. ‘Raid 
will not do,’ I said, ‘it has been used so often. Give me a fresh word.’ 
Help the Suffragettes to storm, or besiege or invade the House of Com- 
mons! None of these words was exactly right. ‘Rush,’ she suddenly 
suggested. ‘ “Rush” it shall be!’ The handbill was so printed. 

Days passed, which were devoted to announcing the event of 13th 
October. A votes for women kite was flown above the Houses of Par- 
liament; a banner-decked steamer moved up and down the river; pave- 
ments were chalked; meetings large and small, indoor and outdoor, 
were held. 

On the day before 13 th October a summons was served on the 
three Trafalgar Square speakers. It read thus: 

Information has been laid this day by the Commissioner of Police 
that you in the month of October in the year 1908 were guilty of 
conduct likely to provoke a breach of the peace by initiating and causing 
to be published a certain handbill calling upon and inciting the public 
to a certain wrongful and illegal act, viz.: to rush the House of Commons 
at 7.30 p.m. on October 13th inst. 

We were thereby summoned to appear that same day at 3.30 at 
Bow Street to show cause why we should not be ordered to find 
sureties for good behaviour. We decided, however, not to appear at 
Bow Street but to appear at the Queen’s Hall instead, where, most 
conveniently, our usual weekly gathering would be held. The hall was 
crowded to the utmost, as a hint of some new happening had appeared 
in the early edition of the evening papers. 


Mother made all known, saying: ‘The Government’s represent- 
atives are now, as I speak, expecting us at Bow Street, but we have de- 
cided that our engagement to meet you here is of far greater import- 
ance to us. So we are here, and we shall not go to Bow Street until they 
come and take us.* 

Warrants for our arrest were issued, but we decided to appoint our 
own time and place for arrest. After twenty-four hours spent in an 
apartment on the roof of Clement’s Inn, preparing for what might be a 
long absence, we descended to the office whither we had, by letter, 
summoned the police. 

We now had our first experience of the police cells in which accused 
persons are kept until they appear before the magistrate, and were as- 
tounded and indignant that we or any persons charged, but not found 
guilty of an offence, should suffer the ordeal of a night in such con- 
ditions. Nothing could so unfit a person for the demands of the mor- 
row. To us it obviously mattered less than to the ordinary accused 
prisoner, because we had no moral distress to suffer. We knew our- 
selves to be in the right and we had the support of thousands. Yet even 
for us, it was bad enough. Sleep would be impossible; the cell boasted 
but a narrow bench — the conditions were really indescribable. Prison 
hardships had hitherto never much troubled me — after all, one just had 
to go through with it, and there was no work to be done in prison 
which required one to be at concert pitch. But this, I thought, was too 
much! Mercifully for us, and for the work we had to do. Sir James 
Murray, m.p., came to the rescue. He was father-in-law of one of our 
young members, and had already welcomed Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, 
Mrs. Despard, and myself to Aberdeen, and shown much sympathy 
with our work. His genial and commanding presence brought life, 
cheer, and comfort to that dreary, foul place — ^that modem dungeon. He 
acted, and it was like a fairy tale. Beds from the Savoy were brought by 
minions quickly answering to the fairy wand. A table was spread and 
delicious foods and fruits appeared. Our gaolers, now all interest, lent a 
hand. When all was in order, our friend-in-need gave us hearty good 
wishes for the coming trial. With thankful hearts we fed and slept, and 
awoke refreshed and ready for all that might betide. . . . 

Stirring things had been happening in the world outside our cells. 

‘Make strong protest tonight against injustice of the Liberal Gov- 
ernment’ had been our messaige to the women gathered in Caxton Hall. 
They needed no bidding. The meeting sent forth a deputation formed 


of Mrs. Monck Mason, Clara Codd, Ada Wright, Wallace Dunlop, Flat- 
man- Ansell and others, followed by many women acting on their indi- 
vidual responsibility. Never had such crowds gathered at Westminster. 
The handbill had done its work, not to speak of the immense publicity 
given by the Government proceedings against us. Five thousand police 
were, according to Government confession, on duty. The Home Secre- 
tary, who took a close personal interest in the proceedings, came out to 
watch them. It was the biggest encounter yet between the Government 
and the Suffragettes and their sympathizers and, although arrests fol- 
lowed and imprisonments were many, that night saw another strategic 
victory for women. 

While the great crowds were surging, shouting, cheering outside, 
and women were fighting their way towards the doors of Parliament 
and being beaten back, only to renew their efforts, a woman had sud- 
denly appeared at the Bar of the House, had all but seized the mace and 
had raised the accusing and appealing cry ‘Give votes to women’. . . . 

A turning point in the movement had now been reached, for the 
Government had adopted a new plan for ending our militancy. Was it 
the plan of giving votes to women.^ Far from that! Their new plan was 
coercion in a new form. The leaders were to be captured and, by stem 
treatment, convinced of the error of their ways. The futility of this plan 
was evident. One of the leaders, or ringleaders, or whatever they were 
pleased to call us, whom they had just arrested, had been the first to in- 
sist at every cost upon being arrested and going to prison as a protest 
against disfranchisement. Why then should the Government hope to 
quell militancy by arresting and imprisoning the leaders.^ We thought 
we knew why! They hoped, by capturing the shepherds, to scatter the 
flock! This view of their inner motive was fully vindicated some four 
years later, when they attempted to capture all those in control of the 
movement — ^an attempt which was most fortunately frustrated by 
my stepping through their net and escaping to Paris — ^but that is to 

We now return to Bow Street for the trial of 14th October 1908. 
We defended ourselves, the legal aspects of the affair being left mainly 
to me as the lawyer of our trio. At the outset we asked that the case be 
sent for trial and not dealt with summarily, as we were advised that 
under a section of the Summary Jurisdiction Act we were entitled to the 
option of being tried where we desired, and we wished the case to go 
before a jury. The prosecution told its tale and called as witnesses two 



police officers. The first of these, Superintendent Wells, testified that, 
on visiting our office to inquire our intents for 13th October, he had 
been shown Mrs. Pankhurst’s letter to Mr. Asquith and told that if a 
satisfactory reply were given there would be noffiing but a great cheer, 
but if not, the women would try to enter the House of Commons. ‘You 
cannot get there,’ the witness had replied, ‘unless you come with 

‘Are you aware that a member of the Government was at our Traf- 
algar Square meeting.^’ he was asked, and answered: ‘I don’t know 
whether I should answer that.’ ‘You can say yes or no,’ interposed the 
magistrate, so ‘I saw one there,’ said he. ‘Was it Mr. Lloyd George.^’— 
and his look was affirmative. ‘At a later stage I shall have to require the 
presence of Mr. Lloyd George as one of the witnesses,’ I remarked. 
‘You are aware,’ the cross-examination proceeded, ‘that, at another 
Trafalgar Square meeting many years ago, Mr. John Bums, now a 
member of the Government, used words very much more inflam- 
matory, very much more calculated to lead to destruction and damage 
to property than anything we have said?’ The witness was not aware — 
it was all beyond reach of his memory — but never mind, we had made 
our point. ‘You are aware, however, that Mr. John Burns, as a member 
of the present Government, is responsible, jointly with his colleagues, 
for the action which has been taken against us?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Were you 
present at a quite recent Trafalgar Square meeting when Mr. Thorne, 
M.P., made a speech in which he called upon the people to rush the 
bakers’ shops?’ ‘I did not hear it,’ replied Superintendent Wells, ‘but it 
was reported to me.’ ‘Does it occur to you that this language used by a 
Member of Parliament was far more dangerous to the public peace than 
ours? He, too, used the word “rush” but he also incited the people to 
riot and violence. Does it occur to you that his conduct is more repre- 
hensible than ours?’ ‘It occurs to me that he might be prosecuted the 
same as you are.’ Mother asked the witness: ‘Do you know that in pre- 
vious franchise demonstrations, Mr. John Bright and Mr. W. E. Glad- 
stone advised the people to do exactly as we have done?’ ‘To a certain 
extent,’ was his reply. The trial was adjourned for a' week, and Mr. 
Lloyd George and Mr. Herbert Gladstone were requested to attend as 
witnesses, since the one had been present at the Trafalgar Square meet- 
ing and had received a copy of our handbill, and the other had seen the 
occurrences outside Parlianient. They expressed doubt that their evi- 
dence would be of use. When I thereupon applied for a subpoena to 



compel their attendance, Mr. Curtis Bennett suggested and advised the 
dispatch of a second letter to both, and this time they said they would 

The day came: the two Ministers were there. The Court was 
packed: the atmosphere was tense. Again, as at the Free Trade Hall 
three years ago, there was the relief of knowing women at that moment 
of political combat humanly even and equal with men. True, they still 
held back our vote, but they had to reckon with us as representing 
womanhood. We were in the dock, but they that day were also there. 
For the witness-box of the Police Court was really the dock in that 
larger and higher Court of public opinion, and indeed of history, before 
which we Suffragettes, the advocates for womanhood, were arraigning 
these two Ministers and political leaders on the charge of illiberality and 

Mr. Lloyd George was first to enter the witness-box. ‘Did you hear 
any violence advocated in Trafalgar Square?’ we asked him. ‘Not ex- 
cept to force an entrance to the House of Commons.’ ‘There were no 
words used so likely to incite to violence as the advice you gave at 
Swansea that women should be ruthlessly flung out of your meeting?’ 
The witness said he had been, with his small daughter, in the neigh- 
bourhood of the House of Commons on t 3 th October. ‘Did you 
think it safe to bring this young child?’ ‘Certainly, she was very 
much amused.’ ‘Were you yourself attacked or assaulted in any way?’ 

‘You are aware that we argue that, as we are deprived of a share in 
the election of Parliamentary representatives, we are entitled to go in 
person to the House of Commons?’ ‘That was a point put by Mrs. 
Pankhurst in the speech I heard.’ ‘Do you agree with that point of 
view?’ ‘I should not like to express an opinion.’ 

The magistrate interposed: ‘It is not for the wimess to express an 

We, of course, were not on that occasion sticklers for legal techni- 
cality! We were concerned to express, in question form, the home- 
truths we were ever desirous of declaring to Cabinet Ministers. 

Mr. Lloyd George was then asked: ‘Can you tell me whether any 
interference with public order took place in connection with previous 
movements for franchise reform?’ He answered: ‘I should think that 
was an historical fact.’ ‘Have we not received encouragement from you 

' from your colleagues — to take action of this kind?’ *I should be 

1908 — CONTINUED 109 

very much surprised to hear that.’ ‘Do you recognize these words as 
coming from a Liberal statesman: “I am sorry to say that if no instruc- 
tions had ever been addressed in political crises to the people of this 
country, except to remember to hate violence and to love order, the 
liberties of this people would never have been attained”?’ ‘I cannot 
call them to mind.’ ‘They are the words of William Ewart Gladstone. 
Were you present in the House of Commons when his son, Mr. Her- 
bert Gladstone, encouraged women to action of this kind?’ ‘No.’ ‘Do 
you know that John Bright and Joseph Chamberlain in the past recom- 
mended to men action such as we took on 13th October?’ 

Mother put the most telling question of the day, the question in 
which all others were summed up. 

‘I want to ask you whether in your opinion the whole of this agita- 
tion which women are carrying on — very much against the grain — 
would be immediately stopped if the constitutional right to vote were 
conceded to them?’ ‘I should think that is very likely,’ replied Mr. 
Lloyd George. 

Mr. Herbert Gladstone was rather cheery as he entered the witness- 

‘Did you anticipate that you would be in bodily danger as a conse- 
quence of the issue of this Bill?’ he was asked. ‘I didn’t think of it at all.’ 
‘Like ourselves you are above such a consideration!’ 

He thought that, but for the police, the crowd might have done 
more harm, yet admitted that, taking all our Westminster demonstra- 
tions together, very little harm had been done. ‘Did you say,’ he was 
asked, ‘that it was impossible not to sympathize with the eagerness and 
passion which have actuated so many women on this subject, that you 
were entirely in favour of the principle of votes for women, that men 
had had to fight for their rights from the time of Cromwell and that for 
the last 130 years the warfare had been perpetual? Did you say that on 
this question of the franchise, experience had shown that argument 
alone is not enough to win the political day and that ‘‘there comes a 
time when political dynamics are far more than political argument”?’ 
‘Yes,’ was the answer to all these questipns. 

‘Did you speak of men assembling in the “thirties”, the “sixties” 
and the “eighties” of last century and do you know that we have done 
thb in Leeds, in Hyde Park and throughout the country?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Why 
don’t you give us the vote then? Are you familiar wiA the words of 
your distinguished father, quoted in this Court today?’ ‘I heard the 



quotation/ ‘Do you assent to his proposition?' ‘Yes/ ‘Then you cannot 
condemn our methods any more/ 

Mother then put the question: ‘May I ask you this: Are you aware 
that ten thousand people assembled in the City Square in Leeds have 
just carried, with two dissentients, a resolution calling upon the Gov- 
ernment to pass the Woman Suffrage Bill this Session?’ 

We thanked the two Cabinet Ministers for acting as witnesses and 
they departed, leaving us to trial, sentence, and imprisonment. 

A long list of witnesses was called for the defence, but the longest 
trial must have its end and the moment came for the accused to address 
the magistrate. We had urged that the case go before a jury, but in 
vain. We had argued, with reference to the dictionaries and to common 
usage, that the word ‘rush’ implies ‘haste’ and not ‘violence’. The only 
person who had succeeded in fulfilling our behest, and had rushed the 
House of Commons, was, happily, scot free, while we were in the dock. 
Unlawful assembling might be our offence — or incitement thereto — 
but to charge us with that would have brought us before a jury, which 
the Government feared to do, lest the public opinion, now so favour- 
able to us, might bring about an acquittal. 

Mrs. Pankhurst addressed the magistrate in the following words, 
ever memorable to those who heard them: 

I was brought up by a father who taught his children, boys and girls 
alike, to realize they had a duty toward their country. I married a man 
whose wife I was, but also his comrade in all his public life. He was, as 
you know, sir, a distinguished member of your own profession, but he 
felt it his duty, in addition, to do public work to interest himself in the 
welfare of his fellow countrymen. Throughout the whole of our mar- 
riage, I was associated with him in his public work. I was for many years 
a Guardian of the Poor and a Member of the School Board, and, when 
that was abolished, of the Education Committee. This experience 
brought me into touch with many of my own sex who found themselves 
in a deplorable position because of the state of the English law as it 
affects women. You must have seen women come into this Court who 
would never have come here if married women were afforded by law that 
better claim to maintenance which should in justice be theirs when they 
give up their economic independence on marriage and are unable to 
earn a subsistence for themselves. You know how unjust the marriage 
and divorce laws are, and that the married woman has no due right of 
guardianship over her own children. Great suffering is endured by 
women because of the state of the law. Since my girlhood I have tried 



‘constitutional’ methods. We have presented petitions and we have held 
meetings greater than men have ever held for any reform. We have 
faced hostile mobs at street comers because we were told we could not 
have our political rights unless we converted the whole of the country 
to our side. We have been misrepresented and we have been ridiculed; 
contempt has been poured upon us. We have faced the violence of 
ignorant mobs, unprotected by the safeguards provided for Cabinet 

I am here to take upon myself now, as I wish the prosecution had 
put upon me, the full responsibility for this agitation in its present phase. 

I want to address you as a woman who has performed all the ordinary 
duties of a woman, and, in addition, has performed those duties which 
ordinarily men have to perform, by earning a living for her children. I 
have moreover been a public official. For ten years I held an official post 
under the Registrar-General and performed those duties to the satis- 
faction of the department. After my duty in connection with taking the 
census was over, I was one of the few who qualified for a special bonus 
and was specially praised for the way in which the work was conducted. 
Well, I stand before you, having resigned that office when I was told that 
I must either do that or give up my part in this movement. 

I want to make you realize that if you decide — I hope you will not 
— to bind us over, we shall not sign any undertaking as did the Member 
of Parliament^ who was before you yesterday. Perhaps his reason for so 
doing was that the Prime Minister had given him some assurance that 
something would be done for the people he claimed to represent. We 
have received no such assurance. So if you decide against us today, to 
prison we must go because we feel that if we consented to be bound over 
we should be going back to the hopeless condition in which this move- 
ment was three years ago. We are driven to this; we are determined to 
go on with the agitation: we are in honour bound to do so until we win. 
Just as it was the duty of your forefathers to do it for you, it is our duty 
to make this world a better place for women. We believe that if we get 
the vote, it will mean changed conditions for our less fortunate sisters. 
We know how bad is the position of the women workers. Many women 
pass through this Court who would not, I believe, come before you if 
they were able to live morally and honestly. The average pay of women 
wage-earners is only seven shillings and sixpence a week. There are 
women who have been driven to live an immoral life because they cannot 
earn enough to live decently. 

We believe that your work would be lightened if we got the vote. 

^ ^ Mr. Will Thome, m.p., who, after his name had been mentioned in the course of our 
trial, was^ also brought into Court. He maintained that no action would have been taken 
®g*in«t him but for our having drawn attention to the matter. 



Some of us have worked, as I have told you, for many years to help our 
own sex, and we have been driven to the conclusion that only through 
legislation can any improvement be effected, and that this legislation can- 
not be obtained until we have the same electoral power as men to move 
our representatives and to move Governments to pass the necessary laws. 

I do not come here as an ordinary law-breaker. I should not be here 
if I had the same power to vote that even the wife-beater has, and the 
drunkard has — and in this I speak for all the other women who in the 
same cause have come before you and other magistrates. 

This is the only way in which women can get the right of deciding 
how the taxes to which they contribute should be spent, and how the 
laws they have to obey should be made. 

If you had power to send us to prison, not for six months, but for 
six years, for ten years, or for the whole of our lives, the Government 
must not think they can stop this agitation. 

We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our 
efforts to become law-makers. 

The magistrate's decision was given. As we refused to be bound 
over, the alternative was, for Mother and the General, three months’ 
imprisonment, and for me ten weeks. 

Back to prison ! Back to the cell that it seemed one had never left. 
And imprisonment did, after all, express the crude reality of women’s 
political condition. Being in prison, we Suffragettes were simply show- 
ing the politically fettered, and penalized political status of British 

Some reform in prison conditions one noted since former imprison- 
ment. Ordinary prisoners — ^women who had been there more than once 
and perhaps often, for the sundry petty offences that victims of bad 
environment are tempted to commit — ^were already saying: ‘Things are 
very different here since you ladies began coming.’ Mother always in- 
sisted that better social conditions would empty the prisons of this type 
of prisoner, and her expectation has already been largely fulfilled, as 
prison statistics show. 

Prison doors having closed upon us, those outside demanded for us 
the rank and treatment of political prisoners. What were the Govern- 
ment to do.^ By acknowledging us to be political prisoners, they ad- 
mitted by implication that we were not ordinary law-breakers, but 
claimants to political liberty. If they refused us political treatment, they 


increased the nixmber of our sympathizers, for, strange to say, some 
persons were more wrought up by our treatment in prison than by the 
fact that we were prisoners at all. They seemed to think it far more 
grievous that we were denied the privileges of political prisoners than 
that we were denied the vote! 

The Government’s new coercive action, far from checking the 
movement, gave it new impetus. A notable and unique protest was 
made in the House of Commons by members of the Women’s Freedom 
League who chained themselves to the grille which, in those days, made 
a cage of the Ladies’ Gallery of the House of Commons. Fixed to their 
post they were able to make prolonged discourse on votes for women 
to the members seated below, for it was a lengthy and difficult task to 
break the fetters that bound them. 

As the outcome of this highly effective protest, twelve more women 
were added to the twenty-five Suffragettes already in Holloway Gaol. 

Cabinet Ministers were everywhere confronted by our members. 
The Prime Minister just then incautiously opened a bazaar at Highbury 
Athenaeum. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen,’ was his first sentence, ‘you owe 
me no thanks.’ ‘Women owe you no thanks,’ interrupted a Suffragette. 

Mr. Asquith began again, but ‘Taxation without representation is 
tyranny,’ from another Suffragette, silenced him anew. She, like the 
first, was ejected, but not before she had challenged him: ‘What about 
Mrs. Pankhurst in Holloway.^’ 

The bazaar had now become a bear-garden. The women protesters 
needed all their habitual courage. Ejections were made, according to 
a Press report, with ‘the use of what, in the opinion of some impartial 
observers, seemed unnecessary force’. 

The protests of the women and the uproar of the audience were 
renewed again and again. Finally the police were called in. It was not a 
bazaar opening at all, but a political battle. 

Not long before, a veritable riot had occurred in Leeds. Unheard-of 
precautions had been taken to exclude from Mr. Asquith’s meeting in 
Leeds any woman who might ask him about the vote. 

Mrs. Baines, who headed the militant forces, had been in the Salva- 
tion Army and had all the devotion and fire and earnest utterance char- 
acteristic of the Army workers. Her deep, powerful voice made her one 
of our finest open-air speakers, and it served her well that day. She chal- 
lenged the Prime Minister as he descended from the train — as he issued 
from the railway station. The crowd supported her by a great cheer and 



1 14 

then followed her to the Coliseum where another dense crowd was 
assembled to support the women. 

Mounting an improvised platform, Mrs. Baines announced that she 
would attempt to fight her way into his meeting. ‘If they will not give 
us a hearing, we will get inside the hall and make them.’ Followed by 
her colleagues, and by the crowd, she led on to the doors where police 
barred the way and arrested her and four others. 

Another of our epoch-making trials arose out of this — the first 
Suffragette trial by jury. Mr. Asquith, who was, after all, the respon- 
sible cause of her being on trial, was subpoenaed as a witness, but he 
successfully^ applied to have the subpoena set aside. At the Leeds As- 
sizes Mrs. Baines, who was defended by Mr. Pethick-Lawrence, was 
charged with unlawful assembly, and inciting to riot and sedition. This 
trial gave a magnificent opportunity, fully used by Mrs. Baines and by 
Mr. Pethick-Lawrence, to set forth the justice of our cause and the 
motive and proven political necessity of militancy. The judge, in sum- 
ming up, directed the jury if they found, as a matter of fact, that Mrs. 
Baines intended to use force and violence to enter the Coliseum, and 
had called upon people to assist her in this design, they must find her 
guilty. So directed, the jury returned a verdict of ‘guilty’ and Mrs. 
Baines, refusing to be bound over, was imprisoned for six weeks. 

News reached us in prison that Mr. Lloyd George was to speak on 
woman suffrage to a meeting of the Women’s Liberal Association in 
the Albert Hall. Is it peace?’ we asked, as they say at the Welsh 
Eisteddfod. Had a change of mind and purpose come to the Govern- 
ment? Was Mr. Lloyd George going to give a message of reconciliation 
between women and the Government of which he was so powerful a 

While the militants were wondering what Mr. Lloyd George was 
going to say at the Albert Hall, Mr. Lloyd George was wondering what 
the militants were going to do there. Emissaries made overtures to the 
W.S.P.U. with a view to securing peace at the meeting. The W.S.P.U. 
was more than willing, but it must be a real peace, not a one-sided 
truce, of which Mr. Lloyd George, as Government spokesman, would 

^ In the Lord Chancellor’s Court where both the Attorney-General and the Solicitor- 
General appeared on behalf of Mr. Asquith to oppose my submission that he was an 
important ^tness for Mrs. Baines because from his seat on the platform at the meeting 
he would have seien a riot in the street if there had been one. — ^£d. 


get all the benefit. Mother held that if Mr. Lloyd George intended 
merely to repeat, with whatever embellishment of phrase, the same 
delusive and offensive proposition already made by Mr. Asquith and 
indignantly rejected by us, then we should certainly express our 

Even before the meeting it was evident that Mr. Lloyd George 
would indeed say nothing better than Mr. Asquith had already said. A 
great protest was necessary. The militant women were seated in all 
parts of the hall in readiness to applaud and joyously receive the 
Government’s last-minute change of heart and policy, should Mr. 
Lloyd George announce that; but to utter their indignant protest, 
should he simply repeat the dangerous and insulting proposition which 
Mr. Asquith had already made in the House of Commons. 

The Liberal emissaries, who asked the Suffragettes to refrain from 
protest, could perfectly well have intimated that another and better 
Government policy regarding votes for women would be declared. 
They intimated no such thing, nor, alas ! did Mr. Lloyd George himself 
in his reply to the inquiry sent to him by our honorary secretary. 

On the eve of his speech the W.S.P.U. wrote to him: ‘It is a matter 
of great regret that the Government do not yet realize the necessity of 
action in the matter of woman suffrage. Their continued refusal to 
enfranchise women — a refusal for which you as a Cabinet Minister are 
jointly responsible — forces women to adopt militant methods,’ and 
added: ‘Women have seen the futility of mere words of sympathy on 
the part of any member of the Cabinet.’ ‘The leaders of this Union,’ 
wrote Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, editorially, ‘have been asked to use 
their influence to restrain women from heckling Mr. Lloyd George 
next Saturday. We have answered that we cannot do so unless Mr. 
Lloyd George comes forward with a promise from the Government to 
deal with the enfranchisement of women immediately.’ 

The day came. Mr. Lloyd George congratulated the Liberal women 
who had convened the meeting upon the size and spirit of the gathering 
and upon their sagacity in taking the collection ‘before the arrange- 
ments could possibly be upset by the rising of a Cabinet Minister’. 

‘We women’ — a woman here tried to state the reason why Cabinet 
Ministers were such a factor of disturbance, but the usual uproar 
drowned her voice. The Mcmchester Guardian next day reported that 
despite printed instructions issued by the Liberal women that stewards 
should do no violence to any person, and that the audience should be 



'silent and steady under fire*, stewards in many instances turned out 
the women protesters with ‘a brutality that was nauseating and the 
audience played up to them*. The first woman ejected had, in view of 
such a possibility, brought a dog-whip and laid about her with this, in 
response to what she considered excessively forcible treatment by the 
men stewards. A woman Liberal then intervened and took her under 

Mr. Lloyd George was long in coming to the point, namely what, 
if any, new message he had brought from the Government. To that 
audience of women unanimously claiming the vote he sought to ex- 
pound the reasons why they should have it. 'Are you going to us 
the vote.^’ was the very proper interjection of the militants. 'We want 
deeds, not words!* During one stormy interval the organist made his 
contribution to the debate with ‘O dear, what can the matter bel* 

The chairman then arose to say that Mr. Lloyd George had an 
important message from the Government and this would be the last 
chance the meeting would have of hearing it. A breathless calm fell 
upon the meeting, for the Suffragettes wanted to hear that message. 
But the speaker again merely discussed the theoretical reasons why 
women should have votes. Time was passing and no message yet. The 
Suffragettes present, out of all their experience of Cabinet Ministers* 
ways, became anxious 1 

‘The message, the message!* they cried. 'Let us have this Govern- 
ment message and then we shall have quiet!* Still the well-known 
arguments for woman suffrage in the abstract. ‘Come to the point!* 
rose protesting cries. The manager of the hall now suggested that the 
meeting be closed, but after a platform consultation the proceedings 
were resumed. 

Mr. Lloyd George wished to give reasons, he said, why he thought 
the present Parliament would come to the conclusion that women had 
a right to vote and why he thought that conclusion would be incor- 
porated in an Act of Parliament. He seemed to forget that the present 
House of Commons had already concluded that women had a right to 
the vote and had passed the second reading of a Woman Suffrage Bill 
which was at that very time blocked by the opposition of his own 
Government. A woman, whose cloak till then had covered a prison 
dress, brought the proceedings to a point by saying with a singularly 
loud and clear voice: 'We have come to hear the Govemment*s message: 
please ^ve us the message.* Queen Elizabeth then engaged Mr. Lloyd 

1908 — CONTINUED II'; 

George’s attention. ‘If Queen Elizabeth,’ he said, ‘had been alive today 
she ’ ‘would have been in Holloway prison!’ said a Suffragette. 

The message at last came. It was the same story already told by the 
Prime Minister. A majority of Liberal M.P.s and of the Liberal 
Cabinet was favourable to woman suffrage. The Prime Minister had 
declared it to be an open question for the Cabinet as well as for the 
House of Commons, and it was that declaration, said Mr. Lloyd 
George, which enabled him and several of the Cabinet, without impu- 
tation of disloyalty, to vote in the House of Commons for the inclusion 
of women in the Government Enfranchisement Bill to be submitted to 
the present Parliament. The Prime Minister had pledged himself to 
bring in an Electoral Reform Bill and had said that if an amendment 
were carried to include woman suffrage the Government could hardly 
resist it, and the matter would be left to the decision of the House of 
Commons. That inevitably meant that women suffrage would be in- 
cluded in the Bill and that, from that moment, it would be part and 
parcel of the Bill. 

One sequel to the Albert Hall meeting was Mr. Lloyd George’s 
announcement that in future all women would be excluded from his 

His first womanless public meeting was in Liverpool. ‘It is no ex- 
aggeration to say that Mr. Lloyd George’s pronouncement that he 
would not fulfil his Liverpool engagement if ladies were admitted fell 
like a bombshell into the Liberal camp,’ reported the Daily Dispatch, 
‘for tickets to the gentler sex had been issued in hundreds.’ Although on 
this occasion our women were unable to get into the hall, a megaphone 
enabled the call for ‘Votes for Women’, directed from a building op- 
posite, to be heard by the speakers on arrival at the hall, and even to echo 
inside. Crowds assembling in the street were addressed by our speakers 
and cheers were raised for the women imprisoned for the cause. 

Though women were excluded from the hall, their question was 
not. For suddenly, just as Mr. Lloyd George had said that if the House 
of Lords continued to oppose Liberal measures the people would be 
driven to use unconstitutional methods, came the interjection: ‘In the 
same way that your action has driven women to use unconstitutional 
tnethods.’ To keep the votes-for-women question out of meetings 
would have necessitated the barring of men as well as women and 



Speaking to empty seats. Many brave men, from that day, risked insult 
and broken heads, and even their livelihood, by challenging delinquent 
Liberal leaders on the issue of votes for women. 

We in prison had heard of the welcome given to prisoners released 
before ourselves, of the Chelmsford by-election campaign in which 
Suffragettes in prison dress took part; of our great Albert Hall meeting 
at which a £^o,ooo fighting fund was generously launched, and 
thousands of women pledged their renewed devotion to the cause. 

My release from Holloway was due on 22nd December, but 
Mother’s rather longer sentence would keep her still in prison on 
Christmas Day. However, the Government relented, and Mother and 
Mrs. Leigh were also released, to the general joy. 

Mother and I were drawn in a procession from Holloway to a 
gathering of welcome. One of the happiest days in the whole move- 
ment was this. Confidence, unity, enthusiasm were complete. A great 
year had ended. The beloved W.S.P.U. had winged its way through 
storm and stress, further and higher towards its great aim. Each woman 
in our army of justice had done, had given, had been her best. All had 
known the pure delight of a self-regardless service and a self-transcend- 
ing purpose. 

A wonderful Christmas was ours on that day of reunion. We were 
all thanks to the Pethick-Lawrences, and the rest for their splendid 
achievements in our absence, and they were all welcome for us. A great 
meeting had been arranged at which Mother, who had not expected to 
be out of prison so soon and suddenly, spoke briefly, in praise of all 
that the Union had done during her imprisonment, reserving a longer 
discourse until the further meeting planned in her honour for the New 

‘No, we did not undertake this campaign in any light and heedless 
spirit,’ I said. ‘We knew that we had to face danger, sheer physical 
danger. We knew we faced imprisonment. 

‘Yes, we live in a great Christian country among people whose mind 
is always turning back towards One who paid in greater measure than 
we have done the price of purchasing the redemption of others. . . . 
Even if we had no hope of success, even though our militant campaign 
were destined to failure, we should go on with it. So long as we have 
life we shall never renounce this struggle. But we are going to win, for 
we have right on our side, our quarrel is just.’ 

The gathering dispersed. Another year’s campaign was ended. 



Opponents and ^ Postponents* — Pestering Ministers Cres^ 
cendo! — Hunger-Strike and Stone-Throwing — Petitioning 
the Prime Minister — The Men s Political Union — Gather- 
ing Storm of Protest — Forcible Feeding — Lady Constance 


T he New Year was not a week old when the Suffragettes mus- 
tered in strength to renew their challenge to the Liberal Govern- 
ment, to the opponents of votes for women, such as Mr. 
Asquith, and to the ‘postponents*, as we then first dubbed them, such as 
Mr. Lloyd George and Sir Edward Grey. The postponents were asked 
to remember, as W. E. Gladstone had it, that ‘Justice delayed is justice 

Mrs. Pankhurst, in her first public utterance of 1909, recalled that it 
was twenty-nine years since she had joined the executive committee of 
the North of England Society for Women’s Suffrage, and said that, by 
her experience in the first twenty-five of these years, of what were com- 
monly called constitutional methods, she had learnt that only militant 
methods were effectual. 

This first great occasion in 1909 was the gathering at the Queen’s 
Hall held to celebrate the release from prison of Mother and Mrs. Leigh. 
A veteran Suffragist, Miss Clara Evelyn Mordan, a pioneer in the higher 
education of women, whose bequest to St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, is 
memorable, was deputed to present to Mother a beautiful necklace, 
showing the purple, white, and green colours of our Union. The meet- 
ing was a council of war, also, and Mother as supreme commander of 
our forces delivered to the Government her ultimatum for 1909. The 
next General Election was already looming faintly on the political hori- 
zon. The more need and reason then to urge the immediate grant of 
women’s votes. 

Lord Crewe fired the first shot that year in the suffrage war between 




the Government and the women, a shot which shattered the lath 
and plaster suffrage ‘pledge’ offered by Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd 
George. Interrogated by Suffragettes at a public meeting, Lord Crewe 
denied that more votes would be given even to men and denounced the 
‘deplorable ignorance of how public affairs are carried on in this coun- 
try’, of ‘anyone who supposes that the Government could, in the 
present Parliament, bring in a Bill making so great a constitutional 
change as that envisaged by the suggested Reform Bill. This “deplor- 
able ignorance’’,’ said he, ‘encourages one to doubt of the fitness of 
such a person to exercise any political function at all.’ His words were 
hardly complimentary to his colleagues and proved anew the wisdom 
of our refusal to accept the Government’s proffered pledge. 

The Prime Minister was now requested to receive a small deputa- 
tion that would submit to him the reason why woman suffrage should 
be the subject of immediate Government action. We remarked in our 
letter: ‘We are of opinion that the question of women’s enfranchise- 
ment should be dealt with on its own merits and by means of a separate 
and distinct measure, to be enacted before a Reform Bill is introduced 
affecting the franchise as a whole. If this were done and the votes for 
women issue thus satisfactorily disposed of, the subsequent task of sim- 
plifying and improving the electoral machinery would be greatly facili- 

If, as we explained to the public, Mr. Asquith should agree to our 
plea, the Liberal Government would have the vigorous support of 
women in carrying the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill. The Prime 
Minister replied that he ‘did not think any useful purpose would be 
served by receiving a deputation on the subject of the franchise’. Our 
published comment was that: ‘Mr. Asquith’s refusal of this reasonable 
request will meet with general disapproval. Since he became Prime 
Minister, he has never once received a woman suffrage deputation al- 
though he has been asked to do so by Suffragists, both militant and 

Deprived of the conventional means of communication with the 
Prime Minister, unconventional means of communication were all that 
remained. The Cabinet was to meet to consider the King’s Speech, and 
a W.S.P.U. deputation went to lo Downii^ Street. Passing in a cab 
through the cordon of police which guarded Downing Street, they 
gained admission to the Prime Minister’s official residence, and one 
woman — Miss Douglas Smith — nearly managed to get into the pres- 



ence of the Cabinet, Mother’s sister, Mrs. Clarke, was arrested with 
Misses Douglas Smith, Irene Dallas, and Frances Satterley. 

The pestering of Cabinet Ministers was all this time proceeding in 
various parts of the country. One of the postponents, Mr, Haldane, the 
Secretary for War, was challenged at Preston railway station by a Suf- 
fragette who asked him when the Government would give women the 
vote. He replied: ‘Why don’t you talk to Mr. Asquith.^’ At Birming- 
ham Mr. Haldane’s carriage was surrounded by women demanding the 
vote, his hotel was surmounted by a large ‘Votes for Women’ flag. At 
New Street station, a SuflFragette asked him: ‘Will votes for women be 
in the King’s Speech?’ At Euston police were in waiting to protect him 
from the women. At the Mansion House, where Mr. Haldane spoke in 
the same week, a woman’s voice called out: ‘We have heard you; now 
hear us. What about votes for women!’ 

We held another great meeting in the Manchester Free Trade Hall, 
to which we returned always with special zest. Replying to a favourite 
anti-suffrage argument that women could not fight, one of our speakers 
remarked that there was more fight in some women than in some men, 
and instanced the case of the Minister for War and his many and various 
efforts to escape or take police protection. 

Womanless meetings were now the rule for Cabinet Ministers, and 
to gain entrance to these meetings or to waylay and question Ministers 
taxed Suffragette ingenuity to the uttermost. But some protest was al- 
ways accomplished, and Cabinet Ministers could not avoid sight and 
hearing of the militant women during their political progress. 

Mr. Winston Churchill’s experience at Newcastle-on-Tyne was 
typical. The Hon. Mrs. Taylor of Chipchase Castle, a Liberal woman 
in revolt against the Liberal Government because of their treatment of 
the woman’s cause, wrote to him thus: 

Dear Sir, 

I expect that you will be troubled by the Suffragettes when in 
Newcastle. I have been a Liberal all my life until last summer when — 
realizing through Mr. Asquith’s pronouncement about the Reform Bill 
that the Liberal Government did not intend to take Woman Suffrage in 
hand by directly including it in the Reform Bill — joined the Women’s 
Social and Political Union and helped all I could at the Newcastle by- 
election to keep the Liberal out — ^in which we succeededt 



Women like myself are being driven out from the Liberal ranks all 
over England by the action of the Government as regards Woman 
Suffrage, and all our time and money are used against — instead of for — 
the Liberals. I now give half my personal income to work against the 
Government as a Suffragette. 

We feel perhaps almost more bitter against those of the Cabinet 
who are, in the abstract, in favour of woman suffrage, for we know 
that, if they wished^ they could — being in the majority- — cause Woman 
Suffrage to become part of the Liberal Reform Bill or to be brought in as 
a separate Measure. 

Why continue to oblige us to fight you? 

Yours truly, 


Mr. Churchill was questioned on leaving the train, at the door of 
his hotel, on leaving for the Assembly Rooms, on arrival at the recep- 
tion held there. As he entered the ballroom: ‘Remember votes for 
women’ greeted him. ‘Will votes for women be in the King’s Speech?’ 
was asked and asked again. ‘Mr. Churchill, give me your word of 
honour that votes for women will be in the King’s Speech,’ said one 

At the Chamber of Commerce banquet, he was met by more ques- 
tioning women. The feast was at its height when Suffragettes entered 
the large banqueting hall and, with the aid of a megaphone, urged their 

Meantime, the avowed anti-Suffragists in the Cabinet were showing 
that Mr. Asquith’s offer to women, as countersigned by Mr. Lloyd 
George, was, if possible, even more unprofitable than we already sup- 
posed it to be. Lord Crewe had led in this, and Mr. Lewis Harcourt 
insisted that, if the Government’s Reform Bill should be so amended 
to give votes to women, the Government would not support the 
amended Reform Bill as a whole, but only that part of it applying to 

Parliament met. The King’s Speech said nothing of the Suffrage, 
whether for men or women. A Parliament of Women was announced. 
‘A deputation of women will wait on you at the House of Commons to- 
morrow evening to ask for the inclusion of woman suffrage in the legis- 
lative programme of the Government of the present Session,’ wrote 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence to Mr. Asquith, who replied that he had noth- 
ing to add to his past statements and thought no advant^e would 

1909 123 

accrue from his receiving the deputation, and that at the time ap- 
pointed, he had an engagement elsewhere. 

This prior engagement was, it appeared, of a social character and, 
therefore, Mrs. Lawrence- asserted, could afford no sufficient reason for 
refusing to meet the women’s deputation. Mr. Asquith himself sent this 
correspondence to The Times for publication. 

A flash of humour was provided just then, thanks to a Post Office 
regulation permitting the posting and transmission of human letters. 
Two Suffragettes were duly posted as human express letters, at the 
regulation charge, addressed to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing 
Street, and were led by a telegraph boy to their destination, where, 
however, acceptance was refused. ‘You must be returned: you are dead 
letters,’ said Mr. Asquith’s butler. 

Since the Prime Minister would appoint no time and place to re- 
ceive her deputation, Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence appointed both. Mother 
returned from the Scottish by-election then in progress to speed the 
deputation on their way. Again Holloway received its prisoners, for 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence was arrested and with her. Lady Constance 
Lytton, grand-daughter of Bulwer Lytton, daughter of a former Vice- 
roy of India, sister of the Earl of Lytton, sister-in-law of Mr. Gerald 
Balfour (brother of Mr. Arthur — after Lord — Balfour). Her arrest had 
a great repercussion. Among others arrested were Miss Daisy Solomon, 
daughter of a late Prime Minister of the Cape, Miss Una Stratford- 
Dugdale, Miss Margaret Davies-Colley, Miss (now Commandant) 
Mary Allen, Miss Elsa Gye, Miss Leslie Lawless, Miss Caroline 
Townend, and Mrs. Lamartine Yates. 

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence explained in the dock that she as a social 
worker had formerly visited Police Courts and prisons as a helper of the 
helpless. ‘We have,’ she declared, ‘broken no moral law nor even a 
constitutional law, for to present petitions is an ancient privilege and an 
acknowledged custom of the unrepresented and unenfranchised.’ 

Lady Constance Lytton argued that: ‘The Government refused to 
receive our deputation on the grounds that they are not prepared to 
grant our request: yet that is the best reason why we should have an op- 
portunity of explaining to them the nature of our demand.’ She de- 
clared herself more proud of standing there in the dock with her friends 
than she had ever been of anything in her life. 

A striking Government defeat in the Glasgow by-election now 
Occurred. Mother had been dividing her energy between four 



simultaneous Scottish election campaigns, and Glasgow led the way in 
finding the Government guilty. It was a magnificent popular message 
of support for the arrested and imprisoned women. 

‘Where are the women of England.^ Have you locked them all up.^’ 
oudly demanded a man’s voice at Mr. Asquith’s meeting in the 
Queen’s Hall, from which all women had with infinite precaution been 
excluded. Another and another man arose with questions and were 
ejected with even greater violence. 

Cabinet Ministers were almost driven underground, for their public 
appearances were invariably marred by the rightfully indignant protests 
of women, or of men who were upholding the women’s cause. 

Mrs. Pankhurst was making a triumphal progress through Lan- 
cashire, rallying public support in her native county for the fight with 
the Government. Her constitutional and educational work throughout 
the country was ever increasing. 

Another deputation from the W.S.P.U. led by Mrs. Saul Solomon, 
widow of the late Prime Minister of the Cape, now attempted to see 
Mr. Asquith, but again in vain. On the day following, Mrs. Eates and 
Mrs. Reinold renewed their attempt, the affair being witnessed by at 
least one Cabinet Minister from behind the Parliamentary railings. Im- 
prisonment followed. Parliamentary questions about the treatment of 
our prisoners were many, Mr. Balfour himself entering the lists. 

A notable and timely victory was ours at the Croydon by-election, 
celebrated by Punch in a cartoon depicting the Government candidate 
chased from the constituency by the Suffragettes. 

The prison brooch thenceforth to be worn as a badge of honour by 
our prisoners was now adopted. It was designed by Sylvia, and showed 
silver bars and chains, and a broad arrow in our colours, purple, white, 
and green. 

A large company greeted Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence on her release 
from Holloway and followed her to the scene of the customary pris- 
oners’ breakfast. Next day the rejoicings were renewed and a pro- 
cession with Joan of Arc riding at the head attended her to the Aldwych 
Theatre. At the meeting that followed, a new deputation to the Prime 
Minister was announced for June and, with great effect, Mrs. Lawrence, 
as one just out of prison, appealed to women to volunteer for depu- 
tation duty. 

A Votes for Women Bill could not in 1909 come to a second read- 
ing in the House of Commons, because none of its supporters drew a 

1909 iiy 

place in the ballot for private members’ Bills. A supporter of the Gov- 
ernment drew a red-herring across the path, by bringing in an omnibus 
suffrage measure in which the issue of women’s enfranchisement was 
entangled with, and indeed strangled by, proposals for revolutionizing 
the franchise as a whole. Militants and non-militants alike repudiated 
this Bill. It passed second reading by a majority of 35 votes — far less 
than the previous year’s majority for woman suffrage pure and simple, 
and that was the end of it. 

The Government now brought forth a new Coercion Bill for use 
against the Suffragettes, the Cabinet being united on that issue though 
not on votes for women! This ‘Houses of Parliament Bill’ proposed 
that interruptions and other offences by strangers in the Houses of Par- 
liament, while Lords or Commons were in Session, should be made 
punishable by a magistrate, and not as theretofore by Parliament itself, 
a great departure from ancient ways. 

This new Bill collapsed. The coup de grdce was given to it by Sir 
Edward Carson. ‘There is likely to be a great deal of ironic laughter,’ 
thought the Daily Telegraph, ‘at the fate which has befallen the Houses 
of Parliament Bill.’ 

Militant comment on the ill-fated measure was made known when 
Suffragettes chained themselves to the statues in St. Stephen’s Hall and, 
availing themselves of the time taken by the officials to break the 
chains, spoke to the Members of Parliament who flocked to the scene, 
in firm and dignified protest against the disfranchisement of women. 

How shall I give the picture of all that was doing for the vote in 
those days.^ The movement went always crescendo 1 The peaceful side 
of our work — the indoor and outdoor meetings, correspondence, dis- 
tribution of literature, paper-selling, processions, demonstrations, in- 
terviews, by-election campaigns — increased and multiplied throughout 
the years. Mrs. Pankhurst seemed to be in all parts of the land at once. 
What was Gladstone’s Midlothian campaign compared to her national 
campaign! The Gladstones, the Chamberlains, the Asquiths and Lloyd 
Georges have ever been aided by the steady support of Party news- 
papers circulating throughout the country and by long-established 
Party organization. Mrs. Pankhurst, without any newspaper support, 
except incidental, occasional support, conquered simply by the irresis- 
tible appeal of her devotion and courage and, lacking all those other aids 



given to Party political leaders, stirred womanhood and stirred the 
whole nation. 

Our organizers must have their tribute. Young for the most part, 
some very young, their many achievements might astonish the girls and 
young women of the present day. Not the most modem and capable of 
post-war youth could surpass those young organizers of ours, to whom 
I send back through the years my loving thanks and salutation. They 
were willing to sacrifice all, and attempt all, for the cause. Sent, it might 
be, to some outpost in North, South, East, or West of the country, they 
would plant the flag, take an office, interview the Press, call upon the 
leading women of the place, visit the various organizations, political, 
social and philanthropic, tell the police they had arrived, announce 
meetings, and, after chalking pavements, selling the Votes for Women 
paper and distributing handbills, would address meetings, enrol mem- 
bers, arrange more meetings, write to or interview the local Member, or 
plan protests in preparation for Cabinet Ministers’ visits, organize by- 
election campaigns — and in addition to all, raise the money for their 
own campaign and have a balance to send to the Central treasury! 
Their political understanding made them equal to every occasion. They 
could address five thousand people with perfect equanimity and could 
win the day in every argument with opponents and postponents even 
were these Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd George, or Mr. Winston Churchill. 

Without vanity and self-centredness as they were, the political fame 
they deservedly won did not turn the wise heads on their young shoul- 
ders. They consecrated themselves to a great cause in which self was 
lost. Scorning delights, they lived laborious days and joyed in doing it, 
finding their happiness in present service and future victory. To parry 
any charge of ‘unwomanliness’, ‘extreme views’, and so forth, con- 
formity to convention in all but militancy was the rule. Over and 
above this manifold toil, responsibility and devotion, rendered if they 
could voluntarily and otherwise for what might be termed out-of- 
pocket expenses, our splendid organizers were ready at any moment to 
risk possible injury from politically excited mobs or to face arrest and 

London was alive with Suffragette activity. Albert Hall meetings 
twice a year or more, meetings in the large Queen’s Hall every Monday 
afternoon, weekly mass meetings in Hyde Park, the super-bazaars we 
called exhibitions, while meetings without number, in every London 
borough, were added to the central activities of the W.S.P.U. 

1909 lay 

The so-called constitutional aspect of the work of Mrs. Pankhiust 
and her followers, which in all these years exceeded that of any other 
movement, Suffragist or otherwise, can never be too much emphasized, 
because of the historically false impression given by some persons that 
our movement was only militant, while the constitutional and educa- 
tional work for the women’s vote was done by others. 

As to the militant effort of 1909, it surpassed all that went before. 
Deputations were more frequent, imprisonments far more numerous, 
protests in Parliament increased, and of challenges to Cabinet Ministers 
one could lose all count! 

The womanless-meeting policy adopted by Cabinet Ministers 
moved the Suffragettes to more ingenious and adventurous ways of 
getting into their meetings. 

‘Daring Suffragist interviewed — Miss Phillips’ “Recital” under an 
Organ . . .’ thus the Liverpool Echo headed a detailed account of the ex- 
perience of Lord Crewe and Mr. Birrell when they visited Liverpool to 
receive honorary degrees. A chorus of ‘Votes for Women’ from Uni- 
versity students greeted the two Ministers as they appeared on the 
platform. As Mr. Birrell rose to speak, a voice belonging to some in- 
visible woman made a loud and quite long discourse on votes for 
women and the misdoing of the Government in preferring to imprison 
women rather than enfranchise them. Consternation reigned on the 
platform, search was made, and our organizer was found crouching 
beneath the organ, where she had been since eight o’clock of the 
evening before! 

When Mr. Asquith arrived to speak in Sheffield he found a state of 
siege. The hoardings were posted with bills headed ‘Warning’, giving 
the text of the Public Meetings Bill. 

The meeting ‘could not,’ said the Sheffield Daily Telegraphy ‘be 
called a success. The Prime Minister was dull, those inside were wish- 
ing they could get out and thousands outside were clamouring to 
get in.’ 

‘It is not a very dignified proceeding,’ remarked the Yorkshire 
Telegraphy ‘to have to smuggle a Prime Minister into the city, yet that 
was the sort of triumphal entry Mr. Asquith made’. 

Manchester proved that keeping militant women out of Cabinet 
Ministers’ meetings was no easy matter and the attempt to do so caused 
indignant protests from influential Liberal women, including Miss Mar- 
garet Ashton, a member of the Manchester City Council and sister of 



Lord Ashton of Hyde, and Miss Bertha Mason, daughter of a late 
Liberal M.P. of great influence in Lancashire. All oyer the country, by 
trying to keep the Suffragettes out of their tui^ihgs, the Liberal leaders 
were driving women out of the Liberal Fartyl 

While Manchester Liberalism was thui disturbed from within, the 
Suffragettes prepared an elaborate reception fbr Mr. Churchill. He was 
seen off by Suffragettes at St. Pancras, met as he stepped from the train 
in Manchester, interviewed as he entered his taxicab, as he reached the 
Reform Club, and later at the entrance to the Free 'Prade Hall. Driving 
from one point to another, he was followed in a pursuing cab by Suf- 
fragettes who megaphoned a continuous message qn the question of 
the vote. 

Careful seekers had found several Suffragettes in the Free Trade 
Hall, of whom one had been hiding in a box all through the previous 
night. Impossible therefore that the Suffragettes could trouble the 
meeting. And yet they did, for in spite of all the precautions that had so 
disturbed the Liberal atmosphere of the city, two Suffragettes had en- 
tered the hall and escaped discovery by crouching for hours behind a 
screen. Mr. Churchill had not said many words before that dreadful 
challenge ‘Votes for Women’ stirred the meeting to the usual tumult. 
After each of the women had been, in turn, flung out of the hall, some 
half-dozen men at different points interjected questions about the 
Government’s dealing with votes for women. 

The enormous difficulty of entering Cabinet Ministers’ meetings 
caused the Suffragettes to use such informal occasions of interrogating 
them as Mr. Asquith’s holiday at Clovelly. Three resourceful Suffra- 
gettes, Jessie Kenney, Elsie Howey, and Vera Wentworth, followed 
him thither. In church on Sunday morning thpyifbhhd themselves 
quite near Mr. Asquith, who, apprised by Mrs. Asquith dose 

presence, looked anxious indeed, until at the*dose jofth'e service he 
hastily left through a side door. - ' , * . : _ * 

Mr. Asquith was staying for the'we^-endj^t GlbVelty' Court and his 
entire visit was over^acjqwe^ by the ^^ffra^tes’ Insistent question- 
ing. On the golf links, in the groui^s pf»t)loyelly Court, they haunted 
him. Evading the detectives they foimd Mr. Asquith on the links, and 
holding him firmly by the artn,'they as firmly spoke their mind hid ex- 
horted him to receive the forthcoming deputation of women, while Mr. 
Asqiuth’s fellow guests looketl on and listened with ihe greatest in- 
terest' The pblice then intervened, and our three Suffragettes left for 

Olive Fargus, Mr. Asquith, Sir Edward Grey, Mrs. Frank Corbet 

Fred and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence going to the Law Courts 
for Mrs. Baines 

1909 1*9 

Bideford, luggage and all, being given a great send-off by the inhabi- 
tants who had greatly relished dieir encounter with the Prime Minister. 
Returning on foot to Clovelly Court in the small hours of the morning, 
they decorated the grounds with purple, white, and green. ‘Mr. As- 
quith’s unhappy experience with the Clovelly importation of Suffra- 
gettes will,’ said the Bristol Times and Mirror^ ‘compel him to keep 
from public knowledge the locality he may favour for a holiday.’ 

‘It is the right of the subject to petition the King and all com- 
mitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal.’ The Bill 
of Rights thus declares, and strong in her sense of the right, Mrs. Pank- 
hurst determined again to go in deputation to petition the King’s 
Prime Minister. 

As Deputation Day approached, our activities waxed greater. The 
longest Suffragette sentence yet imposed came to an end with the re- 
lease of Patricia Woodlock of Liverpool after three months’ imprison- 
ment in Holloway Gaol. The Suffragette drum and fife band made its 
dibut at the welcome given to her. London was snowed under with the 
deputation handbill bearing these words: 

A Deputation of Women 
will go to the 
House of Commons 
to see 

The Prime Minister 

and lay before him their demand for the vote. Their right to do this is 
secured to them by the 

Bill of Rights 

wWch say%: Tt Ikidlgirighf of the subject to petition the King and all 
coa;tod^ents and prosecJtitfeife for such petitioning are illegal.’ Mr. 
Asquifh, ai tl|fe.J|ysg’s, representativey is therefone bound to receive the 
deputation and heai? {^Sftkion. If he refuses to do so and calls out the 
police to prevent women from their right to present a petition, he 
will be guilty of illegal and unconstitutiQiial action. 

Now happened something destined to have far-jreaching influence 
on the militant movement, for it led to the adoption of the hunger- 
strike. One of our members, Miss Wallace Dunlop, an artist of very 
resourceful mind, entered the House of Conunons and stencilled in 



large letters on the wall of St. Stephen’s Hall this aide-memoire to the 
Government and Members of Parliament: 

Women’s Deputation June 29th. It is the right of the subject to 

petition the King, and all commitments and prosecutions for such pe- 
titioning are illegal. 

So sudden was her act that the police could not reach her in time 
to prevent her. Miss Wallace Dunlop was ejected from the House. Two 
hours were needed to remove that unwelcome inscription. 

Hoping to avert the assembling of the crowds which had in the past 
supported the militant women in Parliament Square, the authorities 
issued a warning to the public not to gather there on 29th June. Never- 
theless the people came. 

Public interest in this deputation was higher than in any of the 
earlier ones. The newspapers were full of it — Scotland Yard’s warning 
of danger had no effect. Never was such a multitude, and the people 
were bent on seeing fair play for the Suffragettes. Mrs. Pankhurst was 
accompanied by Mrs. Mansel, Mrs. Saul Solomon, the Hon. Mrs. 
Haverfield, Miss Neligan, Mrs. Corbett, Miss Maud Joachim, and Miss 
Margesson (afterwards Lady Cushendun). Each woman held a copy of 
the petition to be presented to Mr. Asquith. Unhindered at first, they 
moved forward through the dense crowd which parted to let them pass. 
It was a slow progress, and one of those following Mother was frail, 
and seventy-six years old. But it was a triumphal progress, because 
the people in their thousands were cheering and raising shouts of 

The war correspondent Mr. H. W. Nevinson, with all his experi- 
ence of stirring and poignant scenes and events in many lands, declared: 
T have seldom witnessed so splendid a personal triumph. The deputa- 
tion was small. They walked two deep and in the second row were two 
ladies, old and grey; the others followed, bright with the colours. But 
alone, in front of them all, walked Mrs. Pankhurst, pale, but proud and 
perfectly calm, with that look of courage and persistency on her face 
which I should not like my enemies to wear. The crowd received her 
with overwhelming enthusiasm. I doubt if there is any man or woman 
now living in England who would have been given such a reception as 

Mother’s own account of what then followed was thus: 

1909 I3I 

‘The deputation pressed on through the crowd as far as Parliament 
Square. We paused for a moment, gathering strength for the ordeal of 
trying to push through the lines, when an unexpected thing happened. 
An order was given and instantly the police lines parted, leaving a clear 
space through which we walked towards the House. We were escorted on 
our way by Police Superintendent Wells and as we passed, the crowd 
broke into vociferous cheering, firmly believing, that we were after all to 
be received. There we encountered another strong force of police com- 
manded by Inspector Scantlebury who stepped forward and handed me 
a letter. I opened it and read it aloud: “The Prime Minister, for the rea- 
sons which he has already given, regrets that he is unable to receive the 
proposed deputation.” I dropped the note to the ground and said: “I 
stand upon my rights as a Subject of the King to petition the Prime 
Minister and I am firmly resolved to stand here until I am received.” I 
turned to several Members of Parliament who stood looking on, and 
begged them to take my message to the Prime Minister, but no one res- 
ponded and Inspector Jarvis, seizing my arm, began to push me away. I 
knew now that the deputation would not be received and that the old 
miserable business of refusing to leave, of being forced backward, and 
returning again and again until arrested, would have to be re-enacted. I 
had to take into account that I was accompanied by two fragile old 
ladies who, brave as they were to be there at all, could not possibly en- 
dure what I knew would follow. So I committed an act of technical as- 
sault on the person of Inspector Jarvis, striking him very lightly on the 
cheek. He said instantly: “I understand why you did that,” and I sup- 
posed then that we should be immediately taken. But the other police 
apparently did not grasp the situation for they began pushing and 
jostling our women. I said to the Inspector: ‘Shall I have to do it again.^ 
and he said “Yes.” So I struck him lightly a second time and then he 
ordered the police to make the arrests.’ 

Other women who had gathered at Caxton Hall were then also 
making their way, in ones and twos, to the scene of action. The police, 
in very large force, mounted and on foot, were battling with the 
women, and the crowds who supported the women. At last. Parliament 
Square was entirely cleared and closed by cordons of police. More than 
a hundred of our women were arrested. Stone-throwit^ again occurred 
that night, some of the women, after vainly struggling to get to the 
House of Commons, resolving to make their protest in an easier and 
surer fashion. They delivered the petition by wrapping a copy thereof 



of it round stones which they flung through the windows of the Home 
OfHce, and other Government buildings. 

In the House of Commons that night the demonstration was the 
dominating thought and fact. Mr. A. J. Balfour, Sir Edward Grey, and 
Mr. Austen Chamberlain, as well as many other Members of the House, 
had been eye-witnesses of the scene outside. They had been able to ob- 
serve, as had the newspapers, that ‘the sympathy of the crowd was 
with the women’. 

Several Suffragists early arrested were, the Press stated, ‘walked by 
the police, one on each side, between the lines of M.P.s who treated 
them courteously, but an accidental smile aroused one woman to say 
rather bitterly; “It may amuse you, but it doesn’t amuse us.” It had 
seemed unnecessary to march the women through Members in such a 
public fashion. 

‘May I ask the Home Secretary [Mr. Gladstone] if he would repre- 
sent to the Prime Minister that it would be for the general convenience 
of Members of the House, and to the public at large, if he dropped the 
Budget and gave votes for women?’ asked Mr. Willie Redmond, m.p., 
while Mr. Keir Hardie drew from the Speaker the admission that ‘there 
is no doubt that the public have a right of petitioning’. Mr. Hugh Law 
moved the adjournment of the House ‘on a matter of definite public im- 
portance, namely the refusal of the Prime Minister to receive the depu- 
tation and the consequent grave and immediate danger to the public 
peace’, but the Speaker would not have it. 

The constitutional right of petition was, at their trial, urged in de- 
fence of the arrested women. Mrs. Haverfield was defended by Counsel 
in order that the legal aspect of the case might be fully dealt with. Mr. 
Henl6, defending her, argued that the Statute 13 Charles 11 cap. 5, in 
regulating its exercise, recognized and confirmed the right of petition 
and allowed persons not exceeding the number of ten to present a pe- 
tition, grievance, or complaint to any Member of Parliament or to the 
King’s Majesty, for any remedy to be thereupon had, and this during the 
sitting of Parliament. 

‘These ladies were in the act of and standing upon their right of pe- 
titioning the King’s representative, the Prime Minister.’ Having a right 
to be at the House of Commons to present their petition, they could 
not be accused of causing an obstruction because their right was denied. 
The obstruction was caused by those who prevented the petitioners 
from exercising their right. 

1909 133 

The magistrate said that he ■would like time to consider points 
raised by Counsel. Mother then urged that the right of petition was 
much moreimportant to women than to men, because whereas men had 
the vote as a means to redress of their grievances, women, by reason of 
their voteless condition, were deprived of all other means of redress. 

Lord Robert Cecil, k.c. (now Viscount Cecil of Chelwood), ap- 
peared for Mrs. Haverfield, when the trial was resumed. Endorsing Mr. 
Henl^’s argument, he said that the essence of the right to petition is the 
Sovereign power of the country and that the subjea’s right is to pe- 
tition the King and the Parliament alike. ‘My client,’ said Lord Robert, 
‘when she was debarred access to the Prime Minister, declined to go 
away. I submit to you that she was there to present the petition and as 
she was there asserting a constitutional right, she was not guilty of any 
offence in doing so.’ 

Mrs. Pankhurst, speaking in her own defence, showed that never 
once since he became Prime Minister had Mr. Asquith received women 
who desired to show him how very seriously the women of this 
country suffer from their political disabilities. ‘We should never have 
persisted as we have done,’ she said, ‘had Mr. Asquith consented to re- 
ceive us on another occasion, as he received a deputation of working 
men on the question of electoral reform for men. 

‘The constitutional issue involved ought not,’ said Mrs. Pankhurst, 
‘to be decided by that Court.’ The magistrate was asked by Lord 
Robert Cecil to state a case for the higher Court and did so. All the 
women remained for the time being at liberty. 

‘I wrote these words because I thought they were in danger of being 
forgotten by our legislators and because I intended that they should be 
indelible,’ said Miss Wallace Dunlop when charged at Bow Street with 
‘wilful damage’, by stencilling on a Parliamentary wall the words of the 
Bill of Rights. She was sent, in default of paying a fine, to prison for 
one month. 

Thus began the first hunger-strike. It was to have immense conse- 
quences. It finally drove the Government, as will appear later, to choose 
between a harsher coercion of women and the granting of votes. The 
pioneer of the hunger-strike, Miss Wallace Dunlop, taking counsel 
with no one and acting entirely on her own initiative, sent to the Home 
Secretary, Mr. Gladstone, as soon as she entered Holloway Prison, an 



application to be placed in the first division as befitted one charged with 
a political offence. She announced that she would eat no food until this 
right was conceded. Mr. Gladstone did not reply, but after she had 
fasted ninety-one hours, Miss Wallace Dunlop was set free. She was in 
an exhausted state, having refused every threat and appeal to induce her 
to break her fast. 

The stone-throwing case now came on. Miss Ada C^cile Wright’s 
defence of her action explains the motive of all who had made, or would 
yet make, this form of protest: ‘I am quite prepared to stand by what I 
have done. I went to Parliament Square determined that if my leader 
was again refused permission to present her petition to Mr. Asquith, I 
would put my protest into a form which would not be forgotten. I do 
not believe that my action was morally wrong, but I believe that what I 
did was my duty, because it was a means of calling attention to the 
present disgraceful state of affairs due to the obstinate action of the 
Prime Minister in refusing to act justly by the women of the country. If 
my action was legally wrong I claim that those men who incited me to 
this act should be with me in this dock today. Mr. Herbert Gladstone 
ought to be here, who said in the House of Commons that argument 
was not enough, but that the women will have to use force majeure as 
men had done to obtain the vote. Mr. Haldane ought to be here, who 
taunted women with using pin-pricks, and asked them why they did 
not do something serious; Mr. John Bums ought to be here, who said 
that “working men had forced open the door at which the ladies were 
scratching”. If they are not to be sent to prison for inciting me, then I 
ought not to be sent to prison for taking action far more moderate than 
their words would suggest.’ 

Arrived at Holloway, the prisoners demanded first division treat- 
ment and after protests of a more vigorous nature, resorted to the 
hunger-strike. The Government well knew that the prisoners would 
die rather than yield, and after several days they were, one by one, re- 
leased as their state of weakness caused alarm. 

‘Coercion defeated,’ we said, and declared that we should reserve 
the right to use the hunger-strike as a protest against the fact of this 
imprisonment of Suffragists, because while it was undoubtedly wrong 
to deny to Suffragists the privileges of political offenders, the greater 
wrong was to imprison them at all. 

I foresaw the day when the Government would imprison us, not 
for weeks or months, but for years, and by holding the leaders espe- 



dally, in prison, would attempt to break and obliterate the movement. 
Xhe hunger-strike, I felt, might be one of our measures in reserve for 
the frustration of such a policy. 

The exclusion of women from meetings prompted men sym- 
pathizers to organize themselves in a definite way to heckle Cabinet 
Ministers on the women’s behalf, and the Men’s Political Union was 
formed. Great courage was needed by these truly chivalrous men, for 
they were treated with little mercy by those mortified by failure to 
silence the Suffrage demand. 

Limehouse, where Mr. Lloyd George made a long-remembered 
speech, was the scene of a memorable protest by men Suffragists. Two 
women only were in the meeting, Mrs. Lloyd George and a friend, and 
they, by advice of the Chair, withdrew when the inevitable tumult be- 
gan. Hardly had the applause that greeted Mr. Lloyd George subsided 
when, to quote an eye-witness: ‘A man was seen calmly swarming up 
one of the pillars in the hall. With the utmost coolness and sailor-like 
agility, he slowly mounted some fifteen feet from the ground, and then 
uncoiling a rope from his waist, he secured himself to the pillar and 
contrived for himself a sort of swing seat. By this time, the authorities 
suspected something was wrong and a strong body of stewards ad- 
vanced towards the pillar, intent on hauling down the interrupter. But 
the pillar was guarded by over a dozen good men and true, determined 
to defend their champion against all comers as long as was humanly 
possible. While the fight was raging round the pillar, the handyman 
aloft unfurled a banner of purple, white, and green and a mighty cheer 
went forth as the Suffragette colours floated forth over the heads of two 
bewildered Cabinet Ministers. Slowly, battling against overwhelming 
odds, the defenders of the pillar were one by one wrenched from their 
posts and thrown out wiA the utmost brutality and violence. The 
stewards at last got to the pillar and one of them cut the rope by which 
our champion had secured himself. Inch by inch he was hauled down 
after a heroic resistance. Tom along by a press of men, blows and kicks 
were rained upon him from all sides, and one man deliberately hit him 
on the head with a glass bottle. His head cut open, covered with blood 
from head to foot, the hero of the pillar was thrown outside, where the 
police took him to a friendly doctor to have his wounds dressed. 

At last the Cabinet Minister seemed to have the meeting to himself, 



but at this moment there came through the open windows the meas- 
ured chorus of women’s voices, crying aloud ‘Votes for Women’. They 
had entered an adjoining house, and, through megaphones, were utter- 
ing their protests which even after the windows had been closed con- 
tinued to be heard. 

The Prime Minister and his colleagues were compelled to risk these 
Suffragist encounters, because they had embarked upon a Budget cam- 
paign of meetings all over the country, which gave the militants a mag- 
nificent opportunity. The Prime Minister’s meeting in a marquee at 
Bletchley was an important occasion, though to enter it taxed all the 
Suffragette resourcefulness. At two o’clock in the morning, our women 
reached the place and hid nearby until the meeting was in full swing, 
when they rushed to the tent and raised through megaphones the ‘votes 
for women’ cry. One Suffragette, by lashing herself to a tree, was able 
to make her protest heard all the longer. 

Tremendous scenes occurred in Glasgow when the Prime Minister 
spoke there. One who gained distinction was Alice Paul, the American 
girl, who served with us the apprenticeship that preceded her remark- 
able and victorious suffrage campaign in America with Mrs. O. H. P. 
Belmont, Miss Doris Stevens, and others of the sister militant organiza- 
tion in the United States. Miss Alice Paul gained access to the roof of 
the St. Andrew’s Hall, and hid there all night, drenched to the skin by 
rain. She and Lucy Burns, another American, and Adela and Margaret 
Smith, made a protest which stirred the city. 

‘It may not be war, but it is magnificent after its manner,’ declared 
the Glasgow Eveoing Citi\en^ paying tribute to the lady on the housetop 
— ^willing to wait a night and a day in order to make claim to the vote. 
The vast crowd that surged round the hall was, according to the 
Glasgow Record and Mail, ‘of extraordinary sympathy with the tactics 
of the women, and cries of “rush the police’’ and “save the women’’ 
resounded through the street.’ 

In Liverpool, when Mr. Haldane spoke there, the militant women 
created the usual disturbance. ‘The opening sentence of Mr. Haldane’s 
speech had not been completed,’ said a newspaper account, ‘before 
something akin to a sensation was caused by the falling of breaking 
glass and the voice of a steward shouting excitedly, “they are breaking 
the windows.” It was of course the Suffragettes. . . .’ 

1909 ,37 

Embarrassing as these protests were to Cabinet Ministers, the 
women who made them paid the greater price, for they risked injury 
from those who angrily ejected them from meetings and they were in 
many cases arrested for their part in the demonstrations. Hunger- 
striking became general, and while this deepened the effect of the 
women’s protests, it involved added suffering and sacrifice. 

The Prime Minister did, however, get wholly the worst of it when 
the doughty three of Clovelly pursued him to Lympne. Determined, 
they were, to remind him again that ‘he would not have much peace 
until he had done his duty to the women of the country’. Again a golf 
course was the scene of their encounter. Mr. Asquith, accompanied by 
Mr. Gladstone, was seen emerging from the clubhouse. The three 
ladies approached them, but Mr. Asquith and his colleague tried to 
escape and instead of a discussion of votes for women, quite a fight en- 
sued, home truths being all the time delivered to the Ministers, who 
were warned that the leaders of the movement would not be able to 
control women much longer unless the Government granted the vote. 
A visit to Lympne Castle was then planned. Voyaging by boat to the 
landing place, the three made their way to the Castle wall just at dinner- 
time. One was hoisted up to the window of the dining-room and saw 
Mr. Asquith and the whole party at table. Leaning through the open 
window, she called out in a loud voice: ‘Mr. Asquith, we shall go on 
pestering you until you give women the vote.’ Stones struck the win- 
dow by way of parting shots. 

I explained in Votes for Women that the W.S.P.U. were most care- 
ful, as long as it was possible, to abide by the custom which dis- 
tinguishes a politician’s public from his private life, but that the Prime 
Minister’s constant aim was to drive us off the political held. It was on 
that field alone that we wished to fight out our battle with him, but he 
and his colleagues would not have it so. 

Dundee, A dramatic protest was made when Mr. Herbert Samuel 
spoke in Dundee. Seething crowds surrounded the hall and only the 
strongest resistance of a ‘solid wall of constables prevented an in- 
vasion of the Hair. While this struggle raged. Miss Isabel Kelley en- 
tered the hall by a way of her own. On the previous day she had 
mounted scaffolding on the adjoining Bank of Scotland, from the roof 
of which she lowered herself twenty-five feet on to the roof of the hall. 
There, dressed in a dark gymnasium dress and wrapped in a big cloak, 
she lay hidden for seventeen long hours, escaping detection by search 



parties. Coiled round her waist was a twenty-four-foot rope, having an 
iron hook at one end and a noose at the other. In the course of the meet- 
ing, she let herself down through a skylight in the hall. 

Birmingham. A state of siege prevailed in Birmingham when the 
Prime Minister went there to speak in Bingley Hall. New Street station 
was strongly guarded. A force of mounted police and numerous other 
officers of different grades including the Chief Constable were present; 
even duly accredited representatives of the Press were refosed admit- 
tance to the platform. ‘Various ingenious ruses,’ reported the Birming- 
ham Daily Mail^ ‘were adopted to disguise the Premier’s movements. He 
ascended into the Queen’s Hotel by the lift which in the ordinary way 
only descends to the station level for the purpose of taking up luggage.’ 

According to Press reports. Suffragettes had never held the stage so 
completely. ‘From the very first they made no secret of their deter- 
mination to render Mr. Asquith’s Birmingham visit as unpleasant as 
possible. By six o’clock the streets leading from the railway station to 
Bingley Hall were crowded with people and a strong cordon of police 
stretched from the platform to the doors of the hall. To reach one’s 
destination, one had to undergo the ordeal of a spy in time of war. . . . 
“Show your ticket” became an incessant word in the streets, and in the 
immediate vicinity of Bingley Hall barricades had been erected. Every 
policeman available in the district had been summoned for duty when 
the Premier arrived at the hall. He had not been speaking five minutes 
before a man sprang up in the body of the hall and yelled “Votes for 
Women”. Fifty stalwart stewards rushed viciously upon him and he 
was frog-marched out. 

‘Every five minutes Mr. Asquith was interrupted. “Was John 
Stuart Mill a Socialist.^” asked Mr. Asquith at one point. “No, sir, he 
was a champion of votes for women.” Even Mr. Asquith, as well as the 
audience, seemed to see the apmess of this reply, but its author was 
violently thrown out, as were the fourteen other men who defended 
the women’s cause. 

‘Outside, a scheme had been planned which was to prove the most 
exciting incident of the evening. Two Suffragettes had climbed on the 
roof adjacent to Bingley Hall and were seen crouching behind a chim- 
ney stack about thirty feet from the ground. The police called for a fire 
escape. The position was serious, seeing that Mr. Asquith was due to 
leave the hall to address an overflow meeting. The women were shout- 
ing “Votes for Women”. The officers made desperate efforts to reach 

1909 J 39 

the roof but their every attack was met by a shower of slates which the 
women hacked from the roof. By this time the fire hose had been pro- 
cured and a stream of ice-cold water was poured on the two shrinking 
women. “We will,” said one, “come quietly if you will act like English- 
men and see that Mr. Asquith accepts our petition.” Just as the police 
reached the roof Mr. Asquith drove past the women’s fort and a brick, 
hurled from the roof, passed over the Premier’s car. There were 
muffled cries as the police officers seized the two women on the very 
edge of the coping overlooking the street thirty feet below. Terrified 
women in the street shrieked and turned their heads away while the 
violent struggle went on upon the roof. A fire escape was quickly 
rushed to the wall. The women, continuing to struggle, asked that they 
might be allowed to descend alone. Eventually one officer stepped on 
the ladder and pulled one woman with him, a second officer holding her 

All this time other women had been trying to gain entrance to the 
meeting, the crowd supporting them in their repeated attempts. The 
barricades at last gave way and they made for the doors. The great 
force of police defending the hall resisted the women and the crowd 
who followed. 

Under strong police guard, the Prime Minister got away from the 
hall and to the station without having vouchsafed a word on the ques- 
tion that had dominated the whole proceedings. Women were at the 
train to question him, but with police aid he escaped the hearing and 
the answering of their questions, and the train glided away, bearing 
Mr. Asquith to London and leaving behind the women who, as their 
final word, broke a window in the train’s last retreating coach. 

Our women were arrested for that night’s work. They had risked 
their lives in asking political liberty for women. 

Birmingham at least brought matters to a head. The Government 
were obliged to act. Mayors and Councils, police and business interests, 
Liberal leaders in the constituencies could not and would not tolerate 
the repetition of such scenes. Only two courses were open. They could 
give women the vote and thus put an instant end to militancy , or they 
could try to break the spirit of the militants by a harsher policy of 

They chose the latter course. 



Forcible feeding was started. The women arrested for their part 
in the Birmingham Protest were imprisoned in Winson Green Gaol and 
very soon the news reached us that instead of releasing them after a 
period of hunger-striking — as though that were not suffering enough 
— ^the Government gave orders that they were to be forcibly fed. Ter- 
rible scenes were enacted in the gaol, as the women, naturally, made re- 
sistance and they were seized and held by wardresses while doctors 
forced tubes down nose, or throat, and poured food into their strug- 
gling bodies. It was dreadful to think of; much more dreadful to en- 
dure. Questioned in Parliament on this violent turn in their policy, the 
Government described it as ‘medical treatment’, and ‘hospital treat- 
ment*. But here the Government met opposition from medical men. 
The eminent surgeon Mr. Mansell-Moullin, m.d.,f.r.c.s., vice-president 
of the Royal College of Surgeons, wrote to The Times, out of his 
thirty years’ hospital experience, to protest against the Government’s 
expression ‘hospital treatment’, saying that ‘If it was used in the sense 
and meaning in which it appears in your columns it is a foul libel. Vi- 
olence and brutality have no place in hospital treatment.’ Other medical 
men corroborated him: Dr. H. Roberts wrote to the Manchester 
Gmrdxan to' raise his protest against this latest form of official cruelty. 
One hundred and sixteen doctors signed a memorial to Mr. Asquith, 
in which, as medical practitioners, they most urgently protested against 
the treatment by forcible feeding of the Suffragist prisoners in 
Birmingham Gaol. 

‘We submit to you,’ said the memorial, ‘that this method of feed- 
ing, when the patient resists, is attended by the gravest risks, that un- 
foreseen accidents are liable to occur and that the subsequent health of 
the patient may be seriously injured. In our opinion this action is un- 
wise and inhumane.’ The medical authorities who signed this protest 
included Sir Victor Horsley, C. Mansell-Moullin, W. Hugh Fenton, 
Forbes Winslow, Alexander Hay, E. Vipont Brown, D. Rhys Jones, 
and many others. 

Dr. F. W. Forbes Ross wrote: ‘I will pledge my word that some 
very horrid and degrading scenes of gross brutality could hardly have 
been avoided unless the prisoners are seriously ill and too unconscious 
to resist.’ 

The Manchester Guardian editorially admitted that if the facts of 
what was happening to the prisoners were as stated, their treatment was 
to be ‘properly described as torture’. 



Mr. H. W. Nevinson and Mr. H. N. Brailsford now resigned their 
positions as leader writers on the Daily News, a serious professional 
and financial sacrifice on their part. In n^ing their resignations known 
by a letter to The Times they pointed out that the real offence of the 
Militant Women was to have ‘embarrassed the Government, injured it 
at by-elections and exposed its chiefs to the ridicule of the country’. 
‘The Government had at the outset,’ they said, ‘treated the militant 
movement with a “blind contempt” and the “graver responsibility” of 
what might happen before the end of the agitation would fall upon the 
members of a nominally democratic party, who have turned their backs 
upon a gallant movement of emancipation.’ 

Mother and I hastened to Birmingham to stand by the women who 
had risked and were now suffering so much for the cause. We were 
asked by outsiders to repudiate their action. We would not. We held 
the Prime Minister primarily responsible, and ourselves secondarily 
responsible, for the acts done that night by the police and by our 
women. Mr. Asquith had barred to the Suffragette movement every 
conventional avenue of approach. In Birmingham our women had found 
a way, and though hindered and checked at every turn by political and 
police ingenuity and superior force and finance, they had incurred for 
themselves the agony and indignity of forcible feeding in gaol. 

The Home Secretary, who defended in the House of Commons the 
Government’s forcible feeding policy, was challenged at a public 
meeting: ‘What about feeding women by force?’ Our prisoners tried 
to make him, and the subordinates he instructed, legally accountable, 
but the law gave them no remedy. Indeed it was with difficulty that 
Mr. Marshall, the prisoners’ solicitor, could gain admission to the 
prison to take their instructions. When he at last saw them, he brought 
back a heartrending account of what they were enduring. Their health 
was breaking down under this so-called ‘medical treatment’, and one, 
Laura Ainsworth, had soon to be released. I went to Birmingham to see 
her in the nursing home where she had to be taken and heard the 
dreadful story of her ordeal. She had left behind her, still suffering, 
Mary Leigh, Patricia Woodlock, Charlotte Marsh, Leslie Hall, Mabel 
Capper, Ellen Barwell, Mary Edward, and Hilda Burkitt. 

Now occurred the historic protest of Newcastle which led to the 
arrest of Lady Constance Lytton. 



Mr. Lloyd George was to speak at a Budget Meeting in Newcastle- 
on-Tyne. Not one of our women could get into the meeting, but as The 
Times expressed it, the women ‘were represented by chivalrous and 
rash young men, whose action, foolhardy in its courage, few of us 
would be capable of emulating. It is hardly necessary to say that the 
dangers which they had deliberately faced quite came up to their ex- 

Mr. Lloyd George began his speech by humorously remarking that 
he, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had been doing five months’ hard 
labour. ‘What about the women!’ shouted a voice. A violent struggle 
ensued and the questioner was ejected with violence. Mr. Lloyd 
George went on to speak of taxation. ‘There is no tax on stomach 
pumps!’ resounded through the hall, and the tumult was louder than 
ever and again there was a violent ejection. ‘There has been a great 

slump in ’ Mr. Lloyd George was saying. ‘There has been a worse 

slump in Liberal prestige through the treatment of women,’ came from 
one in the audience. ‘Who was responsible,’ Mr. Lloyd George wanted 

to know, ‘for ’ ‘For the forcible feeding of women in prison,’ a 

voice completed his sentence. 

Outside the hall, extraordinary conditions prevailed. Stout barri- 
cades, mounted police, and immense crowds in the streets were the 
most obvious features of Mr. Lloyd George’s visit to Newcastle. ‘If Mr. 
Lloyd George had been the menaced Sovereign of a rebellious state,’ 
said the Newcastle Daily Chronicle^ ‘he could not have had a stronger 

Unable to enter the meeting by ticket or by forcing the doors, our 
women used stones as messages of protest. Seeing Sir Walter Runci- 
man’s car slowly driving through the crowd, and thinking that Mr. 
Lloyd George would be in it. Lady Constance Lytton ran forward and 
threw a stone at the car, hitting the radiator. Her stone was labelled: ‘To 
Lloyd George: Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.’ ‘Deeds, 
not words’ appeared on other stones which were thrown at Post Office 
windows, as being Government property, and at the Liberal Club. 
Several women were arrested and from the Central Police Station they 
wrote this letter to the W.S.P.U. headquarters in London: 

Friends, all is well. We are glad to follow where our companions have 
led the way. We are proud to offer to the great Cause and to our adored 
leader — God bless her — the utmost service and sacrifice in our power. 

1909 143 

We shall carry on our protest in prison. We shall put before the Govern- 
ment by means of the hunger-strike these alternatives: To release us in a 
few days; to inflict violence on our bodies; to add death to the champions 
of our cause by leaving us to starve; or — the best and only wise al- 
ternative — to give women the vote. We appeal to the Government to 
yield, not to the violence of our protest, but to the reasonableness of our 
demand and to grant the vote to duly qualified women. We then would 
serve our full sentences obediently and without complaint, according to 
the pledge of our leader. Our thoughts are with the cause and with our 
leaders, our comrades and our homes. We ask the prayers of our Com- 
rades and of our loved ones at home, that we may be guided to carry out 
our policy o£‘No Surrender’ in a way that will hold up the high traditions 
of our Union. Our protest is against the action of the Government in op- 
posing Woman Suffrage and against that alone. We have no quarrel with 
those who may be ordered to maltreat us. 

Lady Constance signed this letter with the others arrested: Mrs. 
Jane E. Brailsford, Kathleen Brown, Violet Bryant, Winifred Jones, 
Kitty Marion, Dorothy Pethick, Ellen Pitfield, Ellen W. Pitman, 
Dorothy Shallard. They were all sentenced to imprisonment, some for 
fourteen days and others for one month. Lady Constance Lytton was 
charged with assaulting Sir Walter Runciman and damaging his car 
with a stone. She said that her object was not injury, but protest. Mrs. 
H. N. Brailsford was charged with her attempt to demolish a barricade 
with an axe which she had carried in a muff till the moment of action. 
The prisoners one and all adopted the hunger-strike. 

In two and a half days Lady Constance Lytton and Mrs. Brailsford 
were released without being forcibly fed. The reason for this clemency 
was too evident. It was respect of persons. They protested against this 
discrimination in their favour. They reported: ‘Four of our friends 
were being forcibly fed before we left: Aeir cries of protest and dis- 
tress reached us in our cells.’ 

‘The release from Newcastle Gaol of the two militant Suffragettes, 
Lady Constance Lytton and Mrs. Brailsford, because they took part in 
the hunger-strike in which all imprisoned Suffragettes had taken part, 
has created considerable surprise in many quarters,’ said the London 
Evening News. ‘Such treatment contrasts very strangely with that of 
the Suffragettes at Birmingham Gaol where the hunger-striker has been 
fed through a feeding-tube.’ 

Certainly there was very sufficient cause for not risking the forcible 



feedii^ of Lady Constance Lytton, for on independent medical evi- 
dence she had a ‘chronic valvular lesion’ of the heart. Would that lesion 
have saved her if she had not been who she was.^ Lady Constance 
thought not and she determined to put this to the proof. Disguising 
herself as a working woman and assuming the name of ‘Jane Warton’, 
she went to Liverpool to throw another stone and see whether she 
could or would not be forcibly fed when her true identity was un- 
known. She chose Liverpool because there at that very time three 
Suffragettes, including a working woman, Selina Martin, were being 
forcibly fed. Telling headquarters nothing of her purpose. Lady Con- 
stance, disguised and quite unrecognized, stood on the edge of the 
crowd at a meeting which our organizer and local members were 
holding outside the gaol. Suddenly she lifted her voice: ‘If there are no 
men in Liverpool who will stand up for the prisoners who are asking no 
more than the vote, let the women do their part! I call upon you all to 
follow me to the Governor’s house.’ She moved off and the crowd fol- 
lowed. The police followed, too, and seized ‘Jane Warton’, but not in 
time to prevent her dropping her stones — she could manage nothing 
more — over the hedge enclosing the Governor’s garden. Two other 
Suffragettes, Mrs. Nugent and Miss Elsie Howey, determined that she 
should not go to prison alone. Thus ‘Jane Warton’ had two friends 
with her in the dock next morning and she utilized their presence to 
distract attention from herself. The prisoners’ van carried all three to 
Walton Gaol. Arrived there, Lady Constance discovered in her pocket 
a handkerchief marked ‘C. L.’ and a reel of cotton marked ‘Lytton’, 
which she threw unnoticed in the fire in the reception-room. Her long 
hair had been cut, spectacles changed her looks, her clothing had been 
bought with a careful eye to effect; the matron and wardresses sus- 
pected nothing. Prison dress now replaced her ‘Jane Warton’ disguise. 
She announced her adoption of the hunger-strike. She was asked the 
usual medical questions which she refused to answer except to say that 
she was not suffering from any infectious disease. She was prepared, 
however, to submit to a medical examination of her heart, had it been 
suggested. It was not su^ested. This had been precisely her policy 
when, as Lady Constance Lytton, she was imprisoned at Newcastle. 
Next day the senior medical officer appeared, but he asked her no 
questions and made no examination. All meals were brought to her 
cell but she ate nothing. Her bedding was removed from the cell during 
the day as she would not roll it up but lay on it in the day-time — very 

Drum and fife band with Mary Leigh 

Chrisiabel and her mother 

1^09 145 

wise proceeding on her part. On the fourth day of her imprisonment 
she was informed that forcible feeding would be employed; she replied 
that when the legislators ceased to resist enfranchising women, she 
would cease to resist taking food. A few hours later the medical officer 
arrived irt her cell, with four or five wardresses and the feeding ap- 

No examination was made of her pulse and heart. As Lady Con- 
stance Lytton, she had had a heart examination by two prison doctors 
and another who, as it seemed, had come from London, and as a result 
was not forcibly fed, but released. As ‘Jane Warton’, the working 
woman, she had no heart examination at all, and was forcibly fed. Four 
wardresses held her down, a fifth helped in the forcible feeding process. 
The doctor offered the choice of a steel or a wooden gag, explaining 
that the steel gag would hurt. The prisoner was silent. After an effort 
with the wooden gag, the steel gag was used. Her jaws were forced 
painfully wide, the large tube pushed far down her throat and food 
very quickly poured down but returned in a few seconds after, in a 
bout of sickness, while doctor and wardresses held down her retching 
body. Then they left her— no clean clothing could then be supplied, it 
seemed, and she lay as she was, until the next morning. From the next 
cell the distressing sounds of the forcible feeding of Elsie Howey could 
be heard. 

The following day. Lady Constance was fed by force a second 
time. The suffering and the sickness were this time worse than before. 
The same evening doctors and wardresses came again to the cell. Again 
the horror and the vomiting and now while the vomiting continued, so 
did the inpouring of food. After this third feeding Lady Constance 
showed greater signs of illness than before and the doctor called in the 
assistant medical officer, who happened to be nearby, to test her heart. 
He rapidly did so and cheerfully pronounced it a ‘splendid heart*, but 
his sehior seemed less confident. The fourth time, the doctor brought 
bttmdy and Bovril with his feeding contrivance, but afterward the suf- 
ferdt^^,^.rfe4Ctsk)ff,of intense cold. Next morning, the same food as at 
first w^s use^ and l^am came the sickness. At last, one morning, the 
G6^^^*3[h^^0or arrived together at her cell door. It was to tell her 
dia| she was refetB^^bfipm^ical grounds. Her sister. Lady Emily Lut- 
yens^ to takd*!^ home. The Press Association had heard a 

rumour ffiat yie"iii^si.a prisofifer<in Walton Gaol. The prison officials 
had informed the I^on Commissioners in London that their 



mysterious prisoner was, they suspected, someone other than she pro- 
fessed to be. 

Lady Constance Lytton had proved her point: that the Liberal 
Government had, as she pointed out in a letter to the Home Secretary, 
a different standard of treatment for working women and for other 
women. When she was Lady Constance Lytton, they found her to be 
suffering from serious valvular disease of the heart and unfit for for- 
cible feeding. When she was ‘Jane Warton’, they did not even question 
the state of her heart and fed her by force. 

Lady Constance had made a stand for real democracy. She had 
taken a desperate risk for votes for women. 

Even if forcible feeding had been a medical operation, as the Home 
Secretary claimed, until at last he classed it as punishment or an aggra- 
vation of punishment, this operation without the consent of the pris- 
oner ‘patients’ was illegal, so one prisoner, Emily Davison, insisted, 
when the prison doctor entered her cell. He ignored her protest and she 
was seized, held down by force despite her resistance, and the operation 
was performed. She barricaded herself in her cell to prevent a repetition 
of what she deemed an unlawful assault. As the door could not be 
forced open, a hosepipe was turned on her through the small window in 
the door and she was drenched with icy water. Finally the door was 
forced and Miss Davison, shuddering with cold, was placed in hot 
blankets — but soon after was again forcibly fed, then, after medical ex- 
amination, was released. The visiting committee was held responsible 
for the use of the hosepipe. Later Miss Davison brought an aaion for 
this assault and though she did not secure adequate damages, she won 
the case. 

Victory was emerging ever more clearly from the increasing 
struggle of that time. Nine years of suffering was still dividing women 
from their enfranchisement but from the moment that women had con- 
sented to prison, hunger-strikes, and forcible feeding as the price of the 
vote, the vote was really theirs. 

The immense and growing responsibility of her whole movement; 
the hard work of campaigning at meetings, far beyond her real 
strength; the constant demand upon her attention, her vigilance, her 
amiability, her judgment, her inspiration; the imminence of im- 
prisonment and hunger-strike — ^Mother had all this strain and burden 



to bear, when she was smitten by a great grief. Harry fell ill with in- 
fantile paralysis. Once again, practical necessity sharpened grief and 
trial. Her son’s future had already been an anxiety to her. Her past ex- 
perience had made her fear any of the professions: she was seeking 
some opening in which political opinions would not conflict. He had 
been for a time on an experimental farm owned by a wealthy idealist 
concerned in the revival of agriculture on scientific lines and the return 
of the people to the land, a cause in which her son himself was in- 
terested. Now he would be an invalid, more than ever needing her care. 
She turned to her friend of many years, Mrs. Stanton Blatch, now 
living again in New York, and the outcome was her first tour in 
America. Mrs. Stanton Blatch writes in a letter to me: 

It was in 1909 that your Mother wrote to me about the illness of 
Harry who had been a great favourite of mine. She spoke of her desire to 
earn some money so as to be able to secure for Harry the best of medical 
care and asked if I could put her in touch with some reliable lecture 

Without a day’s delay I brought her and my mother’s former agents 
into communication and arranged also that the Women’s Political Union 
of America, of which I was president, should give the great militant 
leader a suitable send-off in the popular auditorium of Carnegie Hall. 

Nerved by necessity. Mother sailed to America, leaving her boy in 
a nursing home in charge of Aunt Mary and his sisters, and under the 
skilled and loving care of two Suffragette nurse friends, Miss Townend 
and Miss Pine. 

Her American visit was short though crowded and strenuous. She 
soon came back again, hoping to find her child improving; she had 
heard in America of wonderful recoveries. He was no better. We had 
Christmas together. He had grown so like his father, in his support of 
the women’s cause, in his way with his mother and sisters, and in his 
attitude towards all women. 

In the New Year he left us. 

Mother turned to her work again. Her son was gone. She would, all 
the more, use her life and, if need be, give it to serve the women who 
were looking to her for leadership and depending on her for victory. 


1910 — The Year of Truce 

A Government Pledge — The Conciliation Committee — The 
Conciliation Bill — Procession and Meeting — The Govern’- 
mends Answer — Hope for the Autunvi Session — Black 
Friday — The Battle of Downing Street — Another Pledge 
— Sorrow Comes Again 

A YEAR of Truce was 1910. 

The Truce was declared by Mrs. Pankhurst after the General 
Election early in the year, because she wanted the Government 

to decide, in an atmosphere of peace and calm, what would be their 

action in regard to votes for women in the new Parliament. 

The General Election had made the Liberal and Conservative 

parties equal in strength. The Government had no longer any majority 
of their own. The remainder of the House of Commons consisted of 

Irish Nationalists and forty Labour members. 

The disappearance of the Government's majority was largely, if 
not mainly, due to the woman suffrage issue. Liberal women had lost 
their enthusiasm for a Government who would not give them the vote. 
The earnest and energetic campaign of Mrs. Pankhurst and her fol- 
lowers had stirred the electors to vote against the Government. 

The veto of the House of Lords was the issue brought before the 
electors by the Government in 1910. 

The following statement in the London Press, by an elector whose 
identity we did not know, was expressive of the feeling aroused. 

‘If the Tariff Reformers are right, the Budget will diminish my 
income. In either case, I am only touched in my pocket. But if I help to 
keep in office a Government whose conduct to women I consider 
disgraceful, I share the disgrace. I have no love for tariff reform as it is 
likely to be administered. I have no love for the House of Lords as it is 
composed at present, but I can face five years of tariff reform and five 
years more of the House of Lords with equanimity. What I cannot face 


1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 149 

with equanimity is the idea of Mrs. Pankhurst being forcibly fed, and I 
believe that no man who has seen her and heard her speak and realizes 
the fearful indignity which forcible feeding would involve to such a 
woman, can be prepared to acquiesce in such an outrage.’ 

‘They are committing an act of violence against the constimtion,’ 
said Mr. Winston Churchill of the House of Lords. ‘They are trampling 
upon the whole constitutional principle. They are using their power in 
a furious, sordid spirit to smash and wreck the British Constitution.’ 

The Suffragettes borrowed the words to describe the Cabinet’s own 
oppositions women’s constitutional right of voting and to their way of 
dealing with women who were insisting upon this right. 

The Government did not ignore woman suffrage at the General 
Election of 1910 as had all Governments in the past. They gave the 
semblance of an election pledge on this issue. For the first time in his- 
tory a political party went to the country with the admission that the 
votes for women question was a living political issue. Mr. Balfour’s say- 
ing in 1906: ‘The truth is that Woman Suffrage is not in the swim’ was 
no longer true. Militancy had floated the Cause. All that remained was 
to get it into port. 

The Government’s ‘pledge’ on woman suffrage, as uttered by the 
Prime Minister, was this: ‘Nearly two years ago I declared on behalf of 
the present Government that in the event of our bringing in a Reform 
Bill we should make the question of Suffrage for Women an open 
question for the House of Commons to decide. My declaration survives 
the General Election, and this cause, so far as the Government is con- 
cerned, shall be no worse off in the new Parliament than it would have 
been in the old.’ 

It could not be worse off than it was in the old Parliament! The 
Prime Minister’s declaration did not disarm our opposition. Further- 
more, we claimed that the Government ought to take full responsi- 
bility for women’s enfranchisement. 

‘Why don’t you fight the Tories?’ irate Liberals asked us. ‘Because 
the present Government is a Liberal one and we hold the Government 
in power responsible for granting or denying us the vote,’ was our an- 
swer. ‘If this Election brings a Conservative Government into office, 
we shall oppose them, unless they give women the vote.’ This was per- 
fectly well knovm. A Conservative M.P., Mr. (now Sir) George 
Touche, stated the case to a nicety. He acknowledged the ‘vivifying in- 
fluence’ on the woman suffrage cause exerted by the Women’s Social 



and Political Union which had, he said, ‘filled Holloway with the new, 
historical order of the Suffragettes’. Many supporters of the Liberal 
Government, he went on to say, were persuaded that the Government 
had made a serious blunder in trying to crush the Suffragette agitation 
by brute force and that, in so doing, the Government were out of touch 
with the sentiments of the people. But what of the Government’s suc- 
cessors, what of the next Conservative Government.^ asked this Con- 
servative M.P. ‘The Conservative Party need be under no illusion. 
The Women’s Social and Political Union have been perfectly frank on 
the subject. If the Conservative Government fail, as the Liberal Gov- 
ernment have failed, the agitation at present directed against the latter 
will be directed against them.’ 

The truce to militancy was from first to last loyally observed by 
Suffragettes. Non-militant work only was undertaken and this was to 
culminate in a magnificent procession and demonstration in London, 
attended by representatives of our whole organization. 

Ideal conditions existed for enfranchising women. Time was avail- 
able because a vacuum occurred in the Parliamentary programme. 
Said Mr. Balfour: ‘I do not believe there has ever been a Parliamentary 
situation at all parallel with the present one. We have had no King’s 
Speech in the sense of a speech announcing a policy of legislation. The 
House of Commons has been engaged in initiating no legislation.’ Mrs. 
Pankhurst asked the Government to fill the gap by a short and simple 
Women’s Enfranchisement Bill. Her claim was not conceded, but she 
maintained the Truce, in the hope that the resumption of militancy 
might be averted. 

Now came a vindication of militancy by a member of the Govern- 
ment, Sir Rufus Isaacs (later Lord Reading), then Solicitor-General. 
Referring to the Liberal campaign against the House of Lords’ veto, he 
said: ‘The days are past for rioting and we do not need to have recourse 
to bloodshed or violence to carry on our schemes of progress and re- 
form, because we have a fairly good franchise which is an assurance 
that the will of the people must prevail in these democratic days.’ 

What an admission! It meant, first, that the militancy of voteless 
women was justified — though we, unlike voteless men, would have 
nothing to do with bloodshed, and were genuinely reluctant to the use 
of violence. The Solicitor-General’s words were also an admission that 
women, being voteless, were deprived of peaceful and constitutional 
means of getting justice from Parliament. The Westminster Gazette 

ipio — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 151 

rubbed in the argument by saying that formerly, when the great mass of 
the people were voteless, they had to do something violent in order to 
show what they felt. Today the elector’s ‘bullet is his ballot’. Borrow- 
ing these words we felt entitled to say; ‘Today women are voteless; 
they have to do something violent to show what they feel. Tomorrow 
the woman elector’s ballot will be her bullet.’ 

The Parliament Bill to restrict the powers of the House of Lords 
was under hot discussion, and the Daily News wrote of ‘armed revolt’ 
as the only alternative to political slavery. But despite these Liberal en- 
couragements to militancy, we Suffragettes adhered firmly to the 
Truce, and prepared for a great peaceful demonstration. 

With the death of King Edward VII we, with all the country, were 
in mourning and in sympathy with Queen Alexandra. So in a serious 
atmosphere of national peace the Conciliation Committee for Woman 
Suffrage came into being, and a new chapter of Suffrage history opened. 
Eight hard years were to pass before victory, but the Conciliation 
Committee in 1910 prepared the shape of the settlement of 1918, while 
militancy, actual and potential, provided the necessary driving force. 

Lord Lytton, chairman of the Conciliation Committee, was the 
brother of the Suffragette prisoner who, as ‘Jane Warton’ , had endured 
the worst suffering such a prisoner could endure, and the honorary 
secretary, Mr. H. N. Brailsford, was the husband of one who had been 
imprisoned and had risked the same suffering. They knew, therefore, 
the spirit and motive of the militant women and their readiness to sacri- 
fice all that life held for them, and even life itself, rather than waver in 
their fight. 

Excepting the chairman and honorary secretary, the Conciliation 
Committee consisted entirely of Members of the House of Commons. 
All political parties were represented on the Committee which was able 
to state that its formation was ‘welcomed by several Members of the 
Liberal and Conservative front benches and by the chairman of the 
Labour Party’. This object was to press for an early solution to the 
woman suffrage question, on a plan which members of all political 
parties might accept as a practicable minimum. 

The normal course would have been for the Government to intro- 
duce a Woman Suffrage Bill, and prescribe its general terms, but as the 
existing Government had declined to do this, the initiative must, said 



the Conciliation Committee, be taken by private Members of Parlia- 
ment. To justify this policy, they pointed to the four hundred Members 
of the House of Commons pledged to woman suffrage, and to the small 
minority of seventy who had declared themselves hostile. Their Con- 
ciliation Bill was put forth as a ‘working compromise which should 
first meet the objections of Liberals and Labour Members to any in- 
crease of the ownership and plural yote, and secondly, satisfy Con- 
servative opinion as a cautious and moderate advance, and thirdly, be 
capable of statement in a single formula which could be debated without 
an undue expenditure of Parliamentary time’. 

The simple merit of the Conciliation Bill was, as the Committee 
justly claimed, that in a way which no political party could consider ob- 
jectionable or unfair, it would break down the barrier which then ex- 
cluded all women from citizen rights. It was against that ‘insulting ex- 
clusion’, said the Committee, that women were fighting and to those 
who ‘cared most about the Suffrage’ it was a secondary matter how 
many women would be qualified under the Bill. The Conciliation Bill 
proposed a compromise which satisfied a Committee including both 
supporters and opponents of Adult Suffrage. 

‘This question is as urgent as it is important,’ the Committee said. 
‘It is forty years since the first Suffrage Bill passed its second reading in 
the House of Commons. The patience and ability of the women of the 
older Suffrage societies deserved an earlier reward. The failure of Par- 
liaments to give effect to an opinion which they have repeatedly 
avowed, would, if continued, justify women in complaining that in re- 
gard to them the Constitution had broken down. The painful struggle 
of the past four years is an experience which no one would wish to see 
repeated. However opinions may differ as to the methods by which this 
cause has recently been advocated, every one must deplore the fact 
that many women, whose high character gives them a commanding 
influence with their fellows, should be found in open hostility to the 
law of the land and that their capacity for devotion and self-sacrifice 
should be called forth in opposition to public order. Such a situation is 
directly contrary to the best interests of the State. It is with the object 
of preventing the continuance of this evil and of forwarding an act of 
justice long overdue that we ask support for this Bill. The reform will 
be the more gracious if it comes by the united effort of men of all 

We welcomed the formation of the Conciliation Committee and 

1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 153 

the Bill it proposed, without of course exonerating the Prime Minister 
and the Government from final responsibility, and we supported the 
movement with all our strength. 

Mrs. Pankhurst said: ‘It appears that Members of Parliament, as a 
whole, are prepared to vote the Conciliation Bill into law. The success- 
ful passage of the Bill seems therefore to be ensured, provided that the 
Prime Minister is willing that this shall be. It is difficult to believe that 
he will prevent the passage of the Bill and by so doing frustrate the 
present responsible effort towards peace.’ 

We increased our already vast non-militant propaganda in London 
and throughout the country and maintained the Truce which we had 
begun of our own accord. 

We militants had, in fact, done our share of conciliation, before the 
Conciliation Committee was formed. It now only remained for the 
Government to do their share by seeing to it that women got the vote. 
If the Government refused to do this and so destroyed the conciliation 
movement, we should have more public sympathy than ever on our 
necessary resumption of militancy. 

My own strongest, but unspoken, reason for welcoming the Con- 
ciliation movement was that it might avert the need for stronger mili- 
tancy and would at least postpone the use thereof. Mild militancy was 
more or less played out. The Government had, as far as they could, 
closed every door to it, especially by excluding Suffragette questioners 
from their meetings. Cabinet Ministers had shown their contempt for 
the mildness of our protests and had publicly taunted us on that score. 
And neutral onlookers had warned us that these milder acts would, by 
their ‘monotony’, grow futile, because they would cease to impress 
anybody, and therefore would cease to embarrass the Government. As 
W.S.P.U. strategist, I saw this as plainly as any outside critic or coun- 
sellor. Strategically, then, a pause in militancy would be valuable, for it 
would give time for familiarity to fade, so that the same methods could 
be used again with freshness and effea. Much depended, in militancy, as 
it depends in other things, upon timing and placing, upon the dramatic 
arrangement and sequence of acts and events. A particular kind of pro- 
test, made after the Government had wrecked the Conciliation Bill — 
if the Government should indeed decide to wreck it — ^wouldin its effect 
be different from the same kind of protest made before the Conciliation 
movement began. 

Another reason whj’ .mild militancy could not avail much longer 



was that our women were beginning to revolt against the one-sided 
violence which they experienced in the course of their attempts to pe- 
tition the King’s Prime Minister. It was being said among them that 
they would prefer to break a window than be themselves thrown about 
and hurt. They were arguing that the W.S.P.U. respect for human 
safety ought to apply to themselves as well as to everyone else. They 
were questioning whether, for the sake of others dear to them, or even 
for their own sake, they had any right to risk personal injury, if a little 
damage to panes of glass would have the same, and indeed more, effect. 
For they were not ignorant of the fact that the law itself, as enforced in 
the law courts, was often more indulgent to those who attacked persons 
than to those who attacked property. 

The forcible feeding of Lady Constance Lytton and others had 
driven our women to the conclusion that there was, to say the least of 
it, a singular indifference to the suffering and indignity endured by 
women for the sake of political enfranchisement. 

The Parliamentary field was clear for the Conciliation Bill. Time 
was available and a large majority of the Members of the House were 
prepared to vote for it. 

The opportunity had arrived, we urged, for reforming the Consti- 
tution by ‘yielding to women their political birthright’, and it was ‘incon- 
ceivable’ that at that moment of crisis in their conflict with the House of 
Lords the Government could shut the door of citizenship in the women’s 
faces. What right had a Liberal Government to condemn the House of 
Lords as a hindrance to liberty, if they themselves denied liberty to half 
the people by depriving women of the possibility of voting on any terms? 

Giving the Government the benefit of our doubt, we worked in 
non-militant fashion, in support of the Bill. Mother stirred the country 
by her appeals. The Liberal newspapers made encouraging forecasts, 
especially the Manchester Guardian, which declared that there was more 
than a hope that ‘we are on the eve of the accomplishment of a deeply 
desired and long-delayed reform’. 

The general public, the House of Commons, a large section of the 
Press, notably the Liberal Press, were supporting the Conciliation Bill. 
‘Politicians who, six months ago, despaired of any solution during the 
present session of Parliament now admit that the omens are favour- 
able,’ wrote Lord Lytton. 


“It would,* said a well-known Liberal M.P., Mr. Aneurin Williams, 
‘be lamentable if, having before us a practical solution upon which al- 
most all are agreed, we should let slip the apt moment of puttir^ it into 
effect and be confronted with a recrudescence of turmoil and lawless- 

The Conciliation Bill was brought in by Mr. (later Sir) David 
Shackleton, a Labour M.P. ‘We are living,’ he said, ‘in a time of truce 
on the Constitutional [House of Lords] question and surely this House 
might well be occupied in giving a few hours’ consideration to this Bill.’ 

So evident was the support for the Bill in the House of Commons 
that Mr. F. E. Smith (afterwards Lord Birkenhead), though he spoke 
against it, decided that to challenge a division would be futile. Thus it 
passed through this first stage by acclamation. 

The Government did not at once grant or refuse time for its further 
progress. Indeed lack of time they could not plead, because the House 
of Commons was positively idle for want of Bills and on some occa- 
sions rose in the afternoon instead of in the evening. Three to six days, 
at the most, were all that were required, with ordinary fair play, to pass 
the Bill through its remaining stages. 

Mr. Asquith himself admitted that a majority of his Cabinet were 
committed to woman suffrage. Pro-Government newspapers edi- 
torially supported the claim for facilities. 

The Liberal women in conference demanded that the Government 
should grant time for the Bill and it was even proposed that they should 
march to the House of Commons to show their strong determination. 
Finally, it was decided to request the Prime Minister to receive a depu- 
tation. This he consented to do, agreeing also to see a deputation of the 
non-militants, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. 

‘The first and greatest political demonstration of the new King’s 
reign’, so Mrs. Pankhurst called it. The women’s procession in support 
of the Conciliation Bill was ‘representative in the widest sense’. Those 
who marched in it belonged to all classes of society, all professions, all 
trades, and all occupations then open to women, and it represented 
both the militant and non-militant sections. The tie which bound us to- 
gether on that day was our intense desire for the Parliamentary vote. 

Mrs. Pankhurst herself led the prisoners’ group in the procession, 
hundreds of women who iiad been wrongfully imprisoned for the sake 



of freedom, many of whom had passed through the hunger-strike, and 
no fewer than eighty-seven of whom had endured forcible feeding. 
Those who were kept out of the ranks by illness marched by proxy. 
‘While I recognize to the full the value of the work done by all,’ said 
Mrs. Pankhurst, ‘I believe that the sacrifice of personal liberty that 
others may be free, always has been and always will be the most power- 
ful appeal to the sympathy and imagination of the great mass of human 

Once more the newspapers expressed all praise of this women’s 
demonstration. ‘It is certainly no exaggeration to say,’ said The Times, 
‘that never has a political demonstration of such curious human interest 
been seen in London.’ ‘A feature of the demonstration which compelled 
notice,’ reported another paper, ‘was the general friendliness of the 
crowd towards the women and their cause, and the spectator could not 
but marvel at the immense change that had taken place in the public 
attitude towards them since a few short years ago.’ ‘I went to scoff and 
came away an ardent s3Tnpathizer with these brave, clever women who 
are fighting so pluckily for what they are convinced is their right,’ said 
one correspondent. ‘The proud march past of hundreds of women who 
have cheerfully gone to gaol and whose imprisonment has become a 
title of honour is a profoundly significant fact.’ ‘Never since the great 
franchise demonstration when labourers from every part of the United 
Kingdom and Ireland marched from the Embankment to Hyde Park, 
has such a political gathering been seen.’ 

The procession culminated in our great Albert Hall Meeting (the 
non-militants having gathered there on a previous day), and of this the 
Press recorded that ‘only the subtle, delicate touch of women could 
have produced such a scene as that witnessed in the Albert Hall after 
the procession. Viewed artistically it was a triumph of skill and finan- 
cially the meeting was a great enterprise.’ 

Victory! Mrs. Pankhurst began her speech as chairman with that 
word. Behind her, beside her, before her were massed thousands of 
women. Victory was in the air, the movement had reached high tide. 
Women were roused, the people were with us, true and loyal friends 
had brought forward a practicable measxu« which the House of Com- 
mons had accepted by acclamation and was ready to carry through the 
remaining stages. 

One word from the Government and the Bill would pass. Op- 
position from the House of Lords we did not fear. Either they would 



simply pass the measure or, if not, we did not doubt our power to over- 
come their opposition. To have brought the Bill through the House of 
Gsnunons would be the essence of our victory. 

Lord Lytton was there to tell us of the prospects of the Bill. ‘It now 
remains with the Government,* said he, ‘to help its passage into law. 
We have every reason to be confident.’ 

‘Could anyone imagine that the spirit in that meeting was going to 
be crushed.^’ asked Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence. She as treasurer rejoiced in 
the generous giving of £^,000 for the W.S.P.U. campaign fund, 
money that symbolized the service, time, strength, and even life that 
women were prepared to give for this cause. 

Annie Kenney spoke of the ideals and purpose of the women’s 
movement. Claiming that we had the women with us, the electors with 
us, and the House of Commons with us, I said that we were confident 
the Prime Minister would grant the time needed to pass the Concilia- 
tion Bill, but that if he refused we should not take his answer as final. 
Appealing to Members of Parliament I said: ‘We shall look to you in 
the House of Commons to fight for this cause there, as we shall fight for 
it outside.’ 

This great meeting and Mother’s part in it were thus recorded by 
Mr. Henry Nevinson; ‘No word can express the sense of determination, 
of confident triumph and unity in noble purpose that breathed from 
that vast assembly. I do not know which was the more impressive — the 
shout of devotion which greeted each leader as she came forward or the 
dead silence of the thousands listening to every word. . . . Yet there was 
one moment that abides in my mind as supreme. It was the moment 
when a slight and elegant figure in black, endowed with all the in- 
fluence of a noble career and an unflinching personality, rose from the 
chair, and after the wild storm of applause had subsided, uttered in that 
calm but penetrating voice the simple sentence: “We have only one 
word in our thoughts today, that word is Victory.” ’ 

The Prime Minister received the deputations of non-militant Suf- 
fragists and of Liberal women, as arranged, but deferred his statement 
as to facilities for the Conciliation Bill imtil he should make it in tlie 
House of Commons. Mrs. Fawcett, who led the non-militant deputa- 
tion, represented to him that there would be great disappointment and, 
she feared, a great outburst of anger if the Conciliation Bill were not 



allowed to go beyond a mere second reading: ‘for we have had Bills 
read a second time ever since 1870’. She begged Mr. Asquith to give 
the House of Commons the opportunity to pass the Bill. Lady McLaren 
(afterwards Lady Aberconway), on behalf of the Women’s Liberal 
Federation, said that if the Government refused the request for facili- 
ties, the Liberal women would have to go to the country and say that 
the Government who were against the veto of the House of Lords 
were placing a veto on the House of Commons by refusing to allow the 
passage of the Conciliation Bill. 

An Anti-Suffragist group was also received that day by Mr. As- 
quith. He told them that he shared their opinion, but was on that point 
in a minority in his Cabinet, and that it was the Cabinet that would 
have to decide what should be done in regard to the Conciliation Bill. 

This statement was highly important because it placed the full res- 
ponsibility for the fate of the Bill on the shoulders of Sir Edward Grey, 
Mr. Lloyd George, and the other Ministers who formed the pro-suf- 
frage majority in the Cabinet. If the Conciliation Bill were unable to 
pass, these pro-suffrage ‘friends’ in the Cabinet would, on Mr. As- 
quith’s showing, be chiefly to blame. 

Mr. Asquith was committed to give the Bill a free course by these 
further words: ‘I adhere entirely to a remark of mine that whatever my 
personal opinion about the merits or de-merits of the question, the new 
House of Commons ought to have the opportunity of expressing an 
opinion on it.’ This, if words mean to politicians what they mean to or- 
dinary persons, meant that the desired facilities would be given. ‘We as- 
sume that the Prime Minister’s reply will be favourable’, was the Suf- 
fragettes’ comment at this juncture. We further said: ‘This pledge 
having been given by the Prime Minister, the natural consequence is 
that the House of Commons shall have the opportunity to pass the 
Conciliation Bill through all its stages. It has been suggested that the 
House might be allowed to carry the Bill as far as its second reading, 
but no further. But this would amount to a violation of the Prime 
Minister’s pledge.* 

The Government’s answer came. It fulfilled our worst fears. Not 
that ‘fear’ is the right word to use of any Suffragette emotion! We were 
always confident of ultimate victory. We were never baffled except to 
fight better. 

The Government, said Mr. Asquith, would grant facilities for the 
second reading of the Conciliation Bill, but would grant no facilities 


for canying the Bill beyond that stage. When Mr. Philip (later 
Viscount) Snowden asked: ‘Will it be on an early day.^’ Mr. Asquith 
replied in the negative. 

The Conciliation Comnaittee refused to accept defeat. A memorial 
was sent to the Prime Minister signed by nearly two hundred M.P.S, 
requesting an early date for the second reading and full facilities for the 
subsequent stages of the Bill. Lord Lytton wrote to the Prime Minister 
urging that one week of Parliamentary time could be made sufficient. 
He said: ‘The omission of Governments in the past to allow effect to be 
given to the opinion in favour of Woman Suffrage which the House of 
Commons has always expressed, has created among the best and most 
public-spirited women of the country a growing sense of grievance and 
a not unreasonable impatience of which the Government cannot fail to 
be aware.’ Lord Lytton concluded by expressing ‘the firm conviction 
that this question is ripe for settlement and that the present Session 
presents a unique opportunity’. 

Mrs. Pankhurst said that she believed that there was a greater politi- 
cal understanding between men and women than ever before, and she 
had also greater faith in our friends in the House of Commons. If, how- 
ver, it should prove necessary for women again to fight for their own 
right, the W.S.P.U. was ready. 

Support for the Conciliation Bill was growing in the country, as 
well as in Parliament. Eminent men in all walks of life were memorial- 
izing the Government in its favour. 

The Government, after a week of vigorous agitation, made a con- 
cession to public opinion by fixing a very early date for the second 
reading debate, allotting two days for the purpose. The second reading 
was carried in a free vote of the House by 299 to 190 votes. This ma- 
jority of 109 was larger than the majority recorded for the much-dis- 
cussed Budget, or for the veto resolutions relating to the House of 

The Government intervened to bring about the reference of the 
Conciliation Bill to a committee of the whole House instead of to a 
Grand Committee, which would have been a more advantageous pro- 
cedure. This damaged the prospects, but Lord Haldane, a professing 
ftiend in the Cabinet, declared that keeping the Bill in Committee of the 
whole House 'does not mean necessarily that the question shall be delayed 
in becoming law*. His words meant, on the face of it, that he and the rest 
of the professing friends in the Cabinet would see that it became law. 



The House of Commons had voted on the Bill, as the Manehesur 
Guardian pointed out, not as an abstract question, but in all seriousness 
and with practical consequences in view, and ‘it is for the Government 
to help it through the next stage or to see to it that some other definite 
solution is found and found quickly’. 

Lord Lytton and his Committee were determined to secure the 
passage of the Bill that year and called upon the Government to 
provide the necessary time. 

We were preparing another hi^e peaceful demonstration. Two 
processions to Hyde Park, and one hundred and fifty speakers — such 
was the programme, and it was carried through in triumph. This 
second enormous demonstration was organized and held only five 
weeks after the preceding one which had moved all onlookers, inclu- 
ding the Press, to enthusiasm and sympathy. ‘The very quietness of the 
crowd in Hyde Park was impressive. It takes something important to 
keep half a million people quiet,’ said a newspaper report. ‘Half a mil- 
lion is of course a descriptive phrase. None could even begin to enu- 
merate the extent of the crowd.’ That vast concourse of men and 
women were so many friends and allies. A sea of hands went up for the 
resolution put at forty platforms — a resolution, described by the Press, 
as ‘a dialectical hit, both legitimate and effective’ — ‘This Meeting re- 
joices that the Woman Suffrage Bill has passed its second reading by 
109 votes, a majority larger than that accorded to the Government’s 
House of Lords Veto proposal. The Meeting further calls upon the 
Govenunent to bow to the will of the people as expressed by their 
representatives in the House of Commons and to provide the facilities 
necessary to enable the Bill to pass into law during the present Session 
of Parliament.’ 

The Commons had spoken. The people had spoken. Nothing im- 
aginable remained to be done to demonstrate public support — or w 
should have done it\ Every peaceful mode of promoting the Bill had 
been put into effect. Militancy was the only thing left, but to militancy 
we were determined not to resort, so long as there was life and hope 
left for the Bill. 

The move was now with the Government. We waited! 

In the meantime, Mr. Lloyd George had called together Liberal 
M.P.S and urged them to throw over the Conciliation Bill, arguing, it 
was reported, that to press for facilities would weaken the Cabinet in 
their contest with the House of Lords which, he held, ought with Welsh 


Disestablishment to take precedence of votes for women. He fevoured, 
said he, the Adult Suffrage measure introduced in a previous Session by 
Mr. Geoffrey Howard which, it should be noticed, he had not then 
effectively supported! A Liberal M.P. pointed out that if Mr. Lloyd 
George’s plan were accepted it would be said that the Conciliation Bill 
had been killed by the Liberal Party. 

Then came the Prime Minister’s reply on behalf of the Govern- 
ment. He refused to give time for the passage of the Conciliation Bill. 

This reply was not made in the House of Commons, but in a nega- 
tive intimation conveyed direct to the Conciliation Committee. 

The Conciliation Committee again declined to accept as final Mr. 
Asquith’s refusal of facilities. Mrs. Pankhurst decided still to maintain 
the Truce and to continue the peaceful work for facilities, though she 
now deemed it wise to say that our patience had its limit. 

‘If they fail to get rid of the Government’s veto upon the Concilia- 
tion Bill, women themselves must act,’ she said. ‘The opposition which 
the Women’s Social and Political Union have offered to the Liberal 
Government during the past few years will be renewed and redoubled.* 

Mr. Asquith in a letter to Lord Lytton, and Mr. Lloyd George in a 
subsequent statement in the House, excused the refusal to allow time 
for the Bill on the plea that its title precluded the widening of the Bill by 
amendment. But, as the Manchester Guardian said: ‘the Government 
had given no evidence that if the Bill had not been thus restricted they 
would have treated it any better*. 

On the adjournment of the House for the summer recess, Mr. 
Philip Snowden raised the matter again. The thirty Labour Members 
and 160 Liberals who voted for the Conciliation Bill were as good 
democrats as Mr. Asquith, Mr. Snowden maintained. When Mr. As- 
quith sought to defend himself. Lord Hugh Cecil intervened to say that 
the Government were attempting to kill the Conciliation Bill which, 
said he, would pass into law but for their refusal of time. He believed 
that whatever the scope and shape of the Bill, the Government would 
have hindered its passage. 

The Autumn Session now offered us the next hope. No holiday for 
the W.S.P.U. that year! Mother left for meetings in Scotland. Suffra- 
gettes who were at the seaside and in the country turned their holidays 
into campaigns. 


i 62 


Mr. Lloyd George found the Liberal women in Wales wantit^ to 
know why he had voted against the Conciliation Bill. He explained 
why he thought the terms on* which women now voted in Municipal 
elections were inadmissible when it camie to voting in Parliamentary 

Mr. Brailsford, honorary secretary of the Conciliation Committee, 
said in a letter to The Times that Mr. Lloyd George had opposed the 
Conciliation Bill even ‘before it was drafted’. 

‘What would have happened supposing we had given facilities to 
the Bill,’ said Mr. Lloyd George, ‘and .supposing it then had gone 
through, with the Prime Minister speaking against it, with a dozen 
members of the Liberal Ministry voting against it.^ It would have gone 
to the House of Lords. If the Lords had thrown it out, we should have 
had to fight them upon the rejection of the Women’s Conciliation Bill. 
The Liberal Party would have been in the position of having to fight 
the House of Lords on a question as to which half of the Liberal leaders 
thought the House of Lords were, on the whole, right. It is madness. 
We cannot allow our British Parliament to be dictated to by persons 
outside the constituencies.’ 

The voteless women of the country were presumably the ‘persons 
outside the constituencies’ who were ‘not to dictate to Parliament’. 
They would not have been outside the constituencies under the Con- 
ciliation Bill! 

Mrs. Pankhurst declared that if in the Auttunn Session the Parlia- 
mentary friends of the Conciliation Bill induced the Government to 
grant the needful time, well and good — but if they failed, then women 
must take the matter into their own hands, and would ‘march to West- 
minster to demand that their charter of liberty be signed’. 

Another General Election was rumoured, and appeals were already 
being made to us not to oppose Government candidates. That, we were 
advised, would be ‘to give rein to a bitter and vindictive spirit’. Not at 
all, was our reply, we should make a calm but very decided attempt to 
remove an obstacle from the path of justice to women. But then, we 
were further advised, ‘a Conservative Government might be returned 
to power, and you would be still worse off’. Impossible, we replied: No 
votes from a Conservative Government would be neither worse nor 
better than no votes from a Liberal Government. To exchange Mr. As- 
quith for Mr. Balfour would be no loss, even if it were no gain. 

Before Parliament rose Mr. Asquith was asked by the Conciliation 

1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 163 

Committ^ to receive a deputation which would submit their claim for 
^dlities for the Bill. He declined to receive a deputation and su^ested 
that a written statement be sent to him. Lord Lytton therefore ex- 
pressed in writing the unanimous demand of his Committee for £u:- 
ilities to be afforded when die House resumed its Session in the autumn. 
Mr. Asquith refused this request and said that his pledge to allow the 
House of Commons an opportunity of dealing with the question did 
not apply to that Session. This was a deliberate breach of his pledge for 
that Parliament because, as all the world knew, the House of Commons 
would not live to see another Session and the New Year would see a 
new Parliament. 

Some of our women were getting restive under the Truce but we 
were determined that not until the Government had given the final 
blow to the Conciliation Bill, and extinguished every hope of letting it 
pass in the autumn, would we consider a reversion to militancy. We 
knew that if the resumption of militancy became necessary, greater 
sympathy and support would be given us if we bided our time. We felt, 
too, that it was due to the Conciliation Committee to give them the ful- 
lest opportunity to exert their efforts to gain autumn facilities for the 
Bill before taking the political law into our own hands. Most of all, we 
profoundly desired to avoid the resumption of militancy, if it were 
politically and honourably possible, and we were determined to delay it 
as long as we could. 

The autumn prospect was darkened when Lord Haldane, although 
a professed friend of woman suffrage for the past quarter of a century, 
began to oppose the passage of the Conciliation Bill. His sudden volte- 
face was a bad sign, indeed ! 

Cabinet Ministers who claimed to be Suffragists were sadly unhelp- 
ful ! The Prime Minister was now so much entangled in his own pledges 
that had the pro-suffrage members of his Cabinet stood firm, the Bill 
must have gone through. But they did not. Some of them even attacked 
the Bill as ‘undemocratic’ though it was accepted as democratic enough 
by the Labour M.P., Mr. Shackleton, who introduced it, and by the 
others who voted for it, including Mr. J. R. Clynes, Mr. Arthur Hen- 
derson, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, and Mr. Snowden. 

The Conciliation Committee now offered so to alur the title of their 
Bill as to make its amendment in order — -provided that tirrte for the dis- 
cussion of the Bill were givenl 

Would the Govemm mt give the facilities in the autumn? 



Sir Edward Grey gaye the Government’s answer to this in a reply 
to a deputation of women in his own constituency. He acknowledged 
the democratic nature of the Bill and approved its terms. He also ad- 
mitted that he could quite understand the ‘growing exasperation’ felt 
when the House of Commons passed Woman Suffrage Bills on second 
reading by large majorities and made no further progress with them. 
Yet when questioned as to the autumn facilities, he definitely refused 
them and would give no promise for the next or any other year. 

‘Veto — ^utter blank sullen Veto!’ — this telling phrase, coined by 
Mr. Winston Churchill for the Lords’ veto, applied exactly to the Gov- 
ernment’s veto on the Conciliation Bill. 

Sir Edward Grey’s announcement really ended the Truce, yet we 
still clung to peaceful methods. Our next appeal for facilities was made 
at an Albert Hall meeting in November which was, if that could be, 
more determined, enthusiastic, electrical, than any of our former rallies. 
Money spoke ! A sura of £9,000 was raised within a few minutes, repre- 
senting who will ever know what self-denial, expressing the devotion 
of our women to a great cause, and their resolve to leave an inheritance 
of liberty to others. 

This was our last non-militant effort. ‘If the Conciliation Bill is 
killed,’ said Mother, ‘there will be an end to our truce.’ 

Now was Mr. Asquith’s turn to speak and he did so by informing 
Parliament, when it met for the autunm’s work, that it had but ten days 
more to live and would be dissolved on 28th November. No mention 
did he make of votes for women. 

So ended the Government’s unfulfilled pledge to women! 

This suddeh dissolution was generally recognized as the Govern- 
ment’s mode of escape from a dilemma. ‘Abandonment of the business 
of the Session,’ said TAe Times, ‘has some serious advantages for a 
Government confronted with many awkward questions such as . . • 
Woman Suffrage.’ 

While Mr. Asquith was announcing to the House of Commons its 
early end, Mrs. Pankhurst was addressing the Women’s Social and 
Political Union in the Caxton HalL 

The three hundred women whom she led from there in deputation 
to the doors of Parliament included Mrs. Garrett Anderson, m.d., pi- 
oneer medical woman, twice mayor of Aldeburgh,who with her sister, 

1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 165 

the non-militant leader, Mrs. Fawcett, had be^ so long identified with 
the suffrage cause; Mrs. Hertha Ayrton, the distinguished scientist, 
friend of Madame Curie; Miss Charlotte Haig, a kinswoman of Sir 
Douglas Haig; Mrs. Cobden Sanderson, daughter of Richard Cobden; 
Miss Neligan, a pioneer in women’s education, whose seventy-eight 
years did not keep her from braving the dangers of the occasion; Miss 
Georgina Brackenbury, the younger Dr. Garrett Anderson, and Mrs. 
Saul Solomon, widow of the South African statesman. 

Again the public had gathered in vast numbers to manifest their 
support of the women. ‘For five hours Parliament Square was in a 
state of siege and only the rising of the House brought it to a close,’ 
said the Daily Chronicle. ‘During the whole of this time the women 
were in continual conflict with the police.’ 

Black Friday was the name by which that day was remembered, 
because of what the women suffered. As they advanced, they were not 
arrested but forcibly resisted. Pictures in the newspapers gave evidence 
of what the women endured and one in particular of Miss Ada C^cile 
Wright, knocked to the ground. 

One of the oldest members of the deputation subsequently wrote 
to the Home Secretary that she had witnessed and endured insult and 
assault, although, said she, ‘we know of no law to prevent us from 
going in groups of twelve as we did to the House of Commons, 
whether the Government of the day choose to receive us or not. Our 
cause was not only a just but a reasonable one. We proceeded in the 
most orderly manner, hoping that a few of our representatives, headed 
by our leader Mrs. Pankhurst, would be graciously received, more 
especially since the Conciliation Bill had passed its second reading by 
a majority greater than that accorded to the Budget or against the 
Lords’ veto. But how were we met? By the engine of physical force — 
the Metropolitan Police — ^an instrument under the control of the 

‘Mrs. Pankhurst was already standing with the rest of her dis- 
tinguished company on the steps of St. Stephen’s entrance where they 
had been allowed to take up their position. I stepped forward to join 
the deputation when the police obstructed me. ... I saw several of our 
members flung repeatedly like myself into the crowd. . . . Our women 
were knocked about, tripped up, their arms and fingers twisted, their 
bodies doubled imder and then forcibly thrown, if indeed they did not 
drop stimned to the grv. «md. . . . During many hours, that game of 



pitch and toss played with the agonized and quivering bodies of 
women and girls went on unchecked.’ 

The women would not yield, But that Black Friday struggle made 
them think again that property, rather than their persons, might hence- 
forth pay the price of votes for women. 

A sensation was caused next morning when the magistrate was in- 
formed that the Home Secretary, Mr. Winston Churchill, having had 
the ‘whole matter under consideration’, had decided on the ground of 
public policy that ‘on this occasion no public advantage would be 
gained by proceeding with the prosecution’. No evidence was offered 
and the arrested women were discharged. Public policy apparently 
meant election policy, because hundreds of women had already been 
prosecuted and imprisoned for taking precisely the same action. 

The newspapers broke into posters, headlines, and comments: ‘Elec- 
tioneering Tactics’ — ‘Government Afraid to Prosecute Suffragettes’ — 
‘We suppose that Mr. Churchill is afraid of raising new opposition 
during the General Election,’ said one paper. ‘If he had any hopes of 
conciliating the women, they have been disappointed, for the true 
motive of his conduct has been at once recognized.’ 

Inside the House of Commons, during the five hours’ struggle 
outside, M.P.S had debated the issue. ‘Why should the House be dis- 
solved now?’ asked one member, Mr. Sanderson, when there were 
‘subjects of great gravity, unfortunately, to be discussed’ and ‘some 
think Woman’s Suffrage is one of these’. He would tell his con- 
stituents that ‘Mr. Asquith had dissolved Parliament because he dare 
not face the subjects he has got to face’. 

The representative women’s deputation even then waiting outside 
to see the Prime Minister was mentioned by Mr. Kettle, who urged 
him to receive Mrs. Pankhurst and her colleagues. Sir Alfred Mond 
(later Lord Melchett) reminded Mr. Asquith of the unwisdom of 
alienating the electors by having two or three himdred women in 
prison, and he, too, urged him to receive the deputation. The outcome 
of the debate was that Mr. Asquith, while refusing to receive the depu- 
tation, promised to make a statement on woman suffrage. 

TTie Prime Minister made this statement in the House of Com- 
mons six days before the dissolution. It reached us a few minutes later, 
as we were in session at Caxton Hall. So completely unsatisfactory was 

1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 167 

it that Mrs. Pankhurst annouiu^ an immediate deputation of pro- 
test. Volunteers for this were more in number than ever. Mrs. Pank- 
hurst was still speaking when the news arrived that the House had 
risen! We knew why! This was the Government’s move to elude the 
deputation and avoid the political disadvantage of the imprisonment of 
women, at election time. 

Mrs. Pankhurst was not for one moment at a loss. She led her depu- 
tation towards lo Downing Street, the Prime Minister’s official resi- 
dence. The public were again in great strength in Parliament Square, 
awaiting her appearance and knowing nothing of the sudden and 
extraordinary rising of the House at that early hour. Mrs. Pankhurst 
took a new and uncrowded path to Downing Street, wishing to areive 
quietly. When the crowds knew this, they moved towards the same 
point. The police had just time to form a single cordon across the 
narrow street. ‘Mrs. Pankhurst with that look of silent courage, and 
patient, almost pathetic determination that everyone knows so well,’ 
says an eyewitness, ‘walked straight up against the police, straight into 
the midst of them. The deputation followed, hesitating no more than 
she. They pressed forward steadily from behind. I do not know how 
many of them were there — perhaps three hundred. Only for a moment, 
the cordon stood its ground. Under that pressure right against the 
centre, it struggled, it wavered and broke. Naturally, the women rushed 
forward through the gap with cries of triumph. The police lost all co- 
hesion. Fighting desperately, they were in separate little groups or as 
isolated men, driven further up the street. Many of the women passed 
right through them and got clear up to the Prime Minister’s house.’^ 

Vivid accounts of ‘The Battle of Downing Street’ appeared in the 
London Press of the vigour of the struggle, of the determination of the 
women to reach their objective, though many were thrown to the 
ground and some fainted. Strong police reinforcements arrived and the 
unequal struggle ended in many arrests. The women had, as always, 
run great risk of bodily injury. They might be, and in some cases were, 
thrown down and hurt or bruised by blows. They knew this and they 
dreaded the danger they ran, but they were thinking of other less for- 
tunate women and future generations. A cruel ordeal that battle, espe- 
cially for those who were frail or not very young. Mrs. Pankhurst was in 
the midst of the struggle and all its danger. She had a marvellous way of 
remaining, in the midst of crowds and struggles, as calm and pmiidly 
^ Mr. H. W. Nevinson, 'nrtecpondent, in Votufor Womtn. 



digniiied as a queen going to her coronation — or perhaps to the scaffold 
in some unrighteous rebellion against her proper majesty. 

‘If Mr. Asquith had consented to see us yesterday,’ she said, ‘we 
could have spared him from making this blunder.’ 

The Prime Minister’s latest pledge for the new Parliament was 
alarmingly like his former ones; indeed, it was, on the face of it, even 
less satisfactory. It ran thus: ‘The Government will, if still in power, 
give facilities in the new Parliament for effectively proceeding with a 
Bill which is so framed as to admit of free amendment.’ The Govern- 
ment still took no direct responsibility for giving women the vote. 
The pledge gave no guarantee — in the bitter light of past experience 
it gave less than no guarantee — that the next Parliament would see the 
fulfilment of the Government’s pledge. 

The Conciliation Committee objected strongly, and Lord Lytton 
declared that in two vital particulars the pledge failed to satisfy his 
committee: it did not apply specifically to the Conciliation Bill and it 
did not accede to the request for facilities in the coming Session of 
Parliament, but referred ‘to some unspecified Session in a future which 
no Government could, if it would, control’. 

We declared an anti-Govemment policy for the General Election. 
There was little time for action, before Election Day had come and 
gone. Our Election manifesto contained this offer to the Government, 
in which we went a long way to meet them: ‘If Mr. Asquith will 
promise on behalf of the Government that the House of Conunons 
shall be left free to carry a Votes for Women Bill into law next Session, 
we will at once withdraw opposition to the Government in this 
Election.’ Failing such a pledge, we appealed to the electors to ‘vote 
against the Government candidates, so as to defeat or at least weaken 
the Government who, while condemning the veto of the House of 
Lords, imposed an autocratic and irresponsible veto on the Con- 
ciliation Bill’. 

Heckling Cabinet Ministers was again a feature of the W.S.P.U. 
election campaign. At the election meetings addressed by the Prime 
Minister and his Cabinet colleagues many searching questions were 
put and many apt interjections were made by Suffragettes before they 
were ejected. If the Suffragettes were barred out from doors, windows, 
skyli^ts and other entrances, men interjected in their stead, for 

1910 — THE YEAR OF TRUCE 169 

fathers and husbands were now joining in the fight. In one memorable 
case a Yorkshire working man, while his wife was in prison in London, 
went to ask a votes-for- women question at a Cabinet Minister’s meet- 
ing and got his leg broken in the process. For this he afterwards got 
£100 damages and those responsible got a rebuke from the judge. A 
companion questioner of the injured man, angered by this and by the 
events of Black Friday, was arrested for attempts to attack the Cabinet 
Minister in question and imprisoned for six weeks. The case was 
notable for the presence in the witness-box of the Cabinet Minister, 
who admitted in cross-examination that the ejections from his meetings 
had often been carried out with violence. 

Our younger women, with admirable resource and devotion, did 
the impossible to get into Ministers’ meetings. These brave girls 
would spend the whole day and night before a meeting hidden in 
dark comers of basements, in organs, in coal-holes, or would climb, 
often perilously, to the roof and crouch outside in rain, or in icy 
weather. All this that they might speak a word for justice to a Cabinet 
Minister and the electors assembled to hear him! 

One Cabinet Minister complained that this had been going on for 
five years ! It had indeed: we knew it to our cost. Five years had been 
needlessly taken from our lives, years which we should have wished to 
spend in the constructive citizen service of our country. 

Windows were broken that same evening by women who fiung 
stones of protest at the windows of Sir Edward Grey, Mr. Winston 
Churchill, Mr. Lewis Harcourt, and Mr. John Bums. More and more, 
our women were insisting that a broken window was a lesser evil than 
a broken body, besides being, seemingly ,more impressive to political 
opponents. About one hundred and thirty women were arrested after 
one of the most self-sacrificing demonstrations ever made under the 
W.S.P.U. banner. Again the magistrate, Sir Albert de Rutzen, was in- 
formed that all save a few charges would be withdrawn and that the 
Government desired the rest of the accused to go free. Astonished, 
Sir Albert said: ‘Let me understand! Are the police responsible for the 
course of action which is now taken.^’ The reply being in the negative, 
he remarked that it came from Cabinet Ministers. Sir Albert further 
said: ‘Let me say that this is the first time in the whole of my thirty 
years’ experience that I have ever heard of such a course.’ The out- 
come was the discharge of numbers of the prisoners. 

Protests by small groups of women continued and eventually no 



fewer than seventy-five women were imprisoned, the Government in- 
tervening no further. Certainly our prisoners sought no compromise. 
Those who had broken windows plainly said so and gave their reasons 
for it. ‘This is the result of the treatment given on Friday to our 
peaceful deputation in Parliament Square,’ said one stone-thrower. 
‘I am a law-abiding woman but I have had to do this for political 
reasons,’ said another. ‘We have no alternative,’ said the next prisoner, 
‘but to turn to militant action. It is Mr. Asquith and his colleagues who 
ought to be standing in the dock.’ 

The toil and struggle of 1910 were nearly over. We were planning 
now for 1911. 

Two days before Christmas several of our prisoners were released, 
though sixteen sentenced to longer terms were to spend Christmas in 
prison. Mrs. Pankhurst presided at the meeting of welcome. Memor- 
able speeches were made by the prisoners, among whom was Mrs. 
Pankhurst’s sister, Mrs. Clarke. She was very much loved by our 
members and their feeling for her was expressed that day by another 
of the prisoners, Mrs. Massy, who spoke of what her presence in prison 
had meant to them. Aunt Mary was, for all her gentleness, eloquent 
in an intense and very moving way, and brave to a degree. Her ex- 
quisite loyalty, as sister and as member of the Union, to Mother as 
leader was evidence of her remarkable quality and high political in- 
telligence. Now, she spoke of the thoughts that had been hers in 
prison. She told of a sermon preached by the prison chaplain on 
ministry, and of the reflections to which this had moved her. A 
minister, the chaplain had said, was a servant; Christ came into the 
world as a minister; He came to serve. Aunt Mary’s mind had turned, 
as she sat in the prison chapel, to those other Ministers, Cabinet 
Ministers. She had wondered whether, had they been present to hear 
that sermon, to see women in prison for the sake of the vote, and 
ordinary prison inmates there, largely because of wrong social con- 
ditions, they would feel satisfied with their own ministry — ^whether 
they might not understand the need also of the political ministry of 

A few hours later, on Christmas Day, in the midst of a family 
gathering. Aunt Mary said she was tired and went to lie down. Very 
soon Mother went upstairs to see her. She was dead. 


1911 — Coronation Year 

Starting a Year of Hope — The Second Reading — Next 
Session Never Comes — d Real Opportunity — Coronation 
and Procession — The Fear of Amendments — Deputation and 
the Consequences — Torpedoed 

N ineteen hundred and eleven was Coronation Year. 
Never had a year begun in so much hope. It might be 
Coronation Year for the women’s cause as well as for the 
King^ and Queen. 

True, the same Government was in office after the General Elec- 
tion, but their power of resistance would be no greater than before, 
while our resources were greater and public opinion more than ever 
with us. 

Our great good fortune was that three members of the Concilia- 
tion Committee won the three first places in the ballot giving them 
the right to introduce a Private Member’s Bill. This again assured for 
the Conciliation Bill its second reading in the House of Commons. 
It also meant that the Conciliation Bill would have a claim, exceeding 
that of any rival and wrecking measure, to the facilities promised by 
the Government. 

A Liberal of influence. Sir George Kemp, Member for North- 
West Manchester, who had gained one of the three places in the ballot, 
undertook to introduce the Bill whose second reading was set down 
for the first week in May. 

Two months of vigilance and tremendous eflbrt were before us, 
but naturally we did not grudge that. 

This was the sixth year since our Battle of the Marne in October 
*905* We had worked with constantly increasing intensity in an 
ascending campaign — ^not only militant but also educational. We had 
shown no reaction and we had felt none. Tired in body we could be, 
* King George V. 




but the enemy never knew it, and somehow we recovered on the 
march. Now there was before us another height to scale. 

Mother, in a New Year Manifesto to her forces, said: ‘The year 
1911 has come and with it there rises in the heart and mind of 
thousands of women an eager longing that this may be “the wonder 
year” that shall witness the peacefhl settlement of the long and weary 
struggle for the political freedom of womanhood.’ Yet, if the oppor- 
tunity of a peaceful settlement were rejected by the Government the 
women’s fight would go on, for, said she: ‘As year follows upon year, 
the reasons for our agitation increase. Each new year of legislation 
affecting women and their rights and interests is a call to renewed 
effort, and women in rapidly increasing numbers respond to the call 
and press into our ranks.’ 

The Australian Senate now gave their support to the women of 
the Mother Country by resolving that ‘This Senate is of opinion that 
the extension of the suffrage to the women of Australia for States and 
Commonwealth Parliament has had the most beneficial results. It has 
led to the more orderly conduct of elections. It has given a great 
prominence to legislation particularly affecting women and children, 
although the women have not taken up such questions to the exclusion 
of others of wider significance. In matters of defence and Imperial 
concern they have proved themselves as far-seeing and discriminating 
as men. Because this reform has brought nothing but good, we 
respectfully urge that all nations enjoying representative government 
would be well advised in granting votes to women.’ 

It was further resolved that: ‘a copy of the foregoing Resolution 
be cabled to the British Prime Minister’. 

We were certain of an even greater majority for the Conciliation 
Bill in the new Parliament than in the old. All, therefore, depended 
upon the Government’s action after the second reading. We decided 
to prepare the most imposing peaceful demonstration that we could 
imagine, and a great women’s procession and Pageant of Empire to 
proceed through London at mid-summer. Meantime, as a matter of 
routine, we should fill the large Queen’s Hall once every week, and 
the Albert Hall in the spring, fill other great halls throughout the 
country, and hold mass meetings in parks, on commons, in market- 
places; and smaller meetings in schoolrooms, in drawing-rooms, at 
street comers, in villages. This was our every-year programme. Our 
difficulty was in finding bigger things to do! Militant as she was, 


Mother was leading the greatest of the non-tnilitant campaigns and 
she personally did a for greater non-militant work as a speaker than 
anyone eke. The other Woman Suffrage Societies, of course, had 
their own important plans of propaganda. 

The Conciliation Bill was unique in this: never has such con- 
tinuous and truly national support, representative of all classes and 
parties, been behind any measure brought before Parliament. On one 
platform, under the auspices of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, 
spoke the Earl of Selbome (Member of a former Conservative Govern- 
ment and son-in-law of the ex-Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury) and 
Mr. George Lansbury, m.p., later leader of the Parliamentary Labour 
Party. Both, with the Liberal Chairman of the meeting, demanded 
that the Conciliation Bill be made law that Session. 

Cabinet Ministers themselves had — last year — ^bidden us hope for 
votes this year. Mr. Augustine Birrell had said to a deputation in 1910: 
‘My own strong opinion is that when Parliament meets next year this 
question will have to be decided.* Sir Edward Grey, even while he 
made himself Mr. Asquith’s mouthpiece in denying facilities for the 
Conciliation Bill in 1910, had said to the Suffragists of his constituency 
that in his opinion facilities ought to be found for the Bill ‘next year’. 
Mr. Runciman, yet another Government Minister, had spoken in the 
same sense. 

The Prime Minister’s own pre-election pledge was that ‘The 
Government will give facilities in the next Parliament for effecting 
proceeding with a Bill which is so framed as to permit of free amend- 
ment.’ Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Winston Churchill had therefore 
no longer any ground for tactics such as they had used against the 
Conciliation Bill in 1910. 

‘Keep your word’, was all we asked the Government this Session. 
And what a graceful thing it would be to gladden women and set them 
politically free in Coronation Year! 

Liberal support for the Conciliation Bill on the score, of its demo- 
cratic character was vigorously expressed by the Chairman of the 
Welsh Party in the House of Commons, Mr. Ellis Griffith, who 
exploded the argument that the Bill did not go for enough, by his 
reminder that it had already passed the Commons by a majority of 
1 10 votes, whereas a wider measure had secured a majority of only yx 
votes. ‘I have heard people say that militant methods are alienating 
supporters but I do not think that there would be a movement at all 



if it had not been for the militant part of it. . . . Our thanks are due 
to those women who have brought the matter to its present position. 
They have shown, not simply impulsive action, but sustained and 
consistent action. They possess high ideals and they have shown 
themselves willing to bear insult and ridicule and humiliation on 
behalf of their ideals.’ 

The Parliament (Lords Veto) Bill now passed its second reading 
in the House of Commons and we did not fail to notice the admission 
of the Liberal Daily News that this happened ‘in a House half empty 
and in an atmosphere of sleep’. 

Naturally we were not blindly trustful; poignant former experience 
had taught us the need of watchfulness. Mother, at our first Albert 
Hall meeting of 1911, recapitulated the suffrage hopes so many times 
frustrated: ‘Can it be wondered that in the twentieth century educated, 
intelligent women,’ she said, ‘should insist upon the status of 

Very appropriately, we had as a speaker that evening a woman 
voter from Australia, Miss Vida Goldstein, President of the Women’s 
Political Association of Victoria. It was at this meeting that the com- 
poser Dame Ethel Smyth presented to the W.S.P.U. the ‘March of the 
Women’, the words being written by Miss Cicely Hamilton. This 
took its place with our other marching song, the music of which was 
the ‘Marseillaise’. As always at these great rallies, money again spoke, 
and the £100,000 campaign fund which when the meeting began 
stood at £91,000 was increased to £96,500. 

The sponsor of the Conciliation Bill, Sir George Kemp, soon 
afterwards publicly acclaimed the Bill as being at once moderate and 
democratic and as giving the vote to those women who most needed 
it. He felt that there was a lack of sincerity in nearly all the arguments 
brought against the Bill and what he wanted was sincerity both from 
those who supported and from those who opposed it, who did not 
always state the real grounds of their opposition. ‘I had the fortune 
to be present last evening,’ he said, ‘at a supper at which all present 
stated their opposition to granting the vote to women. One man was 
sincere enough to give his reason. “I do not want it,” he said, “because 
I should like all women to be slaves.” ’ 

Sir George Kemp further said, in words truly prophetic, consider- 
ing what was to happen three years later: ‘I am very anxious that 
women shall have dw vote now in this critical time, when we do not 


know what is before us. We always turn to women in the great crises 
of our lives and we ought to have the benefit of their co-operation. 
... I believe that it will be greatly to the advantage not only of women, 
but of the nation, aye, of the Empire too, that they should join in our 
counsels at the earliest possible period.’ 

Militancy or no militancy at Coronation time! This was now the 
issue. The j^pire was to be in London through its official representa- 
tives, who would gather there for the Coronation and Imperial Con- 
ference. Unofficial visitors in their thousands would choose this year 
to come to the Old Country. Guests from every land under heaven 
would be drawn to London. The tidings of our militancy had reached 
them all. The Suffragettes held the centre of the world stage. 

Militancy at Coronation time would mean indicting the Liberal 
British Government at the bar of Imperial opinion. Militancy at 
Coronation time would be painful to us as marring the harmony 
proper to such a season, but it would be the expression of the truth 
that we could not fully rejoice while the offence and indignity re- 
mained of the Constitutional outlawry of women. 

The issue rested with the Government and their treatment of our 

We knew their past methods too well. Had not the great Gladstone 
himself said ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’.^ Votes tomorrow but 
never votes today. In order to escape being pestered, shamed, and 
humiliated under the concentrated gaze of the whole Empire and the 
whole world, Mr. Asquith and his colleagues might speak fair words 
and plan unffiir deeds. 

No one could call our demand for this Session unreasonable. 
The time of the House of Commons was less chaiged with business 
than it would be later and members of the Government had expressly 
told us to claim and to expect facilities in 1911. Mr. (afterwards Sir 
Walter) Runciman, had stiid even so recently as 25th October 19x0: 
‘My suggestion is that you concentrate on securing that the Bill be 
introduced as early as possible next Session and that time shall be 
given in order that it may be dealt with in 1911.’ Sir Edward Grey 
and Mr. Augustine Birrell had advised us to the same effect. But the 
Government’s pledge for last Parliament had &iled. We should trust 
their pledge for this Parliament — when it had been fulfilled. 



The House of Commons voted the second reading of the Con- 
ciliation Bill by the greatly increased majority of 167 votes. The Party 
leaders, Mr. Asquith, Mr. Balfour, and the rest, took no part in the 
Debate, apparently by agreement. Sir George Kemp urged in favour 
of the Bill that it would give votes to the women who most needed 
them — ^women who had to face domestic problems and the rough and 
tumble of the world, working and paying their way and often main- 
taining dependants like any man voter. He claimed the promised 
Government facilities for the measure after its second reading. *I have 
always been in favour of giving the vote to women,’ he said, ‘but I 
believe that now there are obvious signs of unhappiness throughout 
the kingdom. It is our duty to cure this and not drive it inward to the 
hurt and harm of our constitution. I believe that women possess 
qualities that men do not possess and that they possess them in a 
higher degree. I believe that they have a greater sense of intuition, 
a subtler perception and a greater capacity for self-sacrifice. Perhaps 
they do not see so much as men the value of compromise, for they 
have higher ideals. I think that this House might sacrifice a certain 
amount o£ t\ve spirit o? compromise, \i at tVve same time we raise t 5 ne 
level of our ideals.’ 

A Conservative Member, Mr. Goulding, who had also drawn a 
place in the ballot, seconded the Bill, saying that it was absurd that a 
large portion of the community should never be consulted in regard 
to the laws that were made, simply because they were women, and 
he predicted that if votes were given to women all political parties 
would bestir themselves in friendly rivalry to remedy the laws of 
which women complained. Labour support for the Bill came from 
Mr. Lansbury, Wales spoke for the Bill through the Welsh Party’s 
chairman, Mr. Ellis Griffith, and Mr. Hugh Law raised an Irish voice 
in its support. Mr. Joseph King and Lord Hugh Cecil concentrated 
upon claming facilities for the further progress of the Bill. Lord 
Hugh’s arguinent requires quotation here in view of the sequel. ‘From 
the appearance of the Front Benches, it would seem that the Olym- 
pians have determined to leave the contest and to let the Greeks and 
the Trojans fight it out themselves,’ he said. ‘The Prime Minister 
stated that the Government would give facilities for proceeding with 
the Bill if it were so framed as to admit of free amendment. I under- 
stand that the Bill is so framed.’ He further declared that the supporters 
of the Bill would have ‘just ground to complain if the Government 



destroy the Bill, not by the votes of a majority of this House or the 
other House, but by a final decree of their own, withholding from it 
the time necessary for its passage into law, and I think that to do so 
would be to treat those who, judiciously or injudiciously, are terribly 
in earnest, very hardly indeed/ 

A scrutiny of the vote that followed the Debate was interest- 
ing. Mr. Asquith, who was absent, had paired against with Mr. 
Balfour who was for the Bill, Mr. Winston Churchill was absent, 
unpaired. Mr. Birrell paired in favour of the Bill. Sir Edward 
Grey and Mr. Runciman were both present, though silent, 
and both voted for the Bill; Mr. Lloyd George also voted for the 

That magnificent majority justified every hope. It could mean 
nothing less than ‘facilities this Session’. 

We held a big meeting to celebrate the second reading triumph 
and to claim the promised facilities. Our joy was especially for the 
pioneers, t\\e old ladles wlvo Ivad worked tot dae vote for nearly fvfty 
years — of wViom so many in tlieir age had joined this new, young, 
militant movement, believing it held the assurance of final victory. 
‘For the sake of the older women who are still with us,’ Mother said, 
‘that they may see the vote won this year — let us work as we have 
never worked before.’ 

No time was lost by the Conciliation Committee. They quickly 
asked Mr, Asquith to receive a deputation. Individual M.P.s of all 
political parties were of the opinion, expressed by Mr. Touche, that 
‘The Government can easily give facilities this year, if they are in 
earnest about their pledge.’ 

The triumphant second reading of the Bill was followed by a 
petition presented by the Lord Mayor of Dublin who, in the exercise 
of a right shared only by the Lord Mayor of London, appeared in 
person at the Bar of the House of Commons. It was a picturesque and 
historic ceremony. The Speaker had taken his place and, prayers being 
said, the Serjeant-at-Arms announced that the Lord Mayor of Dublin 
was without. ‘Admit him!’ was the Speaker’s command. Shouldering 
the Mace, the Serjeant-at-Arms admitted the Lord Mayor who, arrayed 
in his official robes, scarlet and befurred, wearing his gold chain of 
office and carrying a white wand, advanced to the Bar of the House. 




Before him were home the Irish Mace and Sword of State, and on his 
either hand walked the Town Clerk and an Alderman. ‘What have 
you there, my Lord Mayor of Dublin.^’ asked the Speaker. ‘A petition 
from the right honourable the Lord Mayor, the aldermen and bur- 
gesses of Dublin,’ was the reply. ‘Let it be read,’ said the Speaker. The 
Town Clerk read the petition ‘to the honourable the Commons of the 
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland’ that for reasons therein 
set forth, ‘the Bill to confer the Parliamentary franchise on women 
may be passed through your honourable House during the present 
Session of Parliament’. 

Although Dublin had this special right of appearance at the Bar 
of the House, that city was not alone in officially supporting the 
Conciliation Bill. Sixty-nine other mtmicipalities carried resolutions 
in its favour, including Birmingham, Birkenhead, Bradford, Canter- 
bury, Cardiff, Chester, Coventry, Derby, Huddersfield, Hull, Jarrow, 
Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, 
Sheffield, Sunderland, Swansea, Tynemouth, West Bromwich, 
Wolverhampton, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. 

Pending the rather tardy Government statement as to facilities. 
Sir George Kemp and Mr. Philip Snowden gave notice of a motion 
in the House of Commons which in effect called for facilities for the 
Conciliation Bill. Mr. Asquith did not hasten to give the Government’s 

We filled this time of suspense with preparations for the great 
procession and Empire pageant, also with recruiting for militant 
action in case of need. Volunteers were many, they were resolute and 
courageous. A characteristic letter said: ‘In the event of action being 
necessary, I should like my name added to the list of danger-duty 
volunteers. I am keeping the date of my summer holiday open to 
meet such emergencies.’ A working woman, a typical voter-to-be 
under the Conciliation Bill, volunteered in these terms: ‘I know what 
it is. I was left a widow with four children to bring up — ^the eldest 
was six and the youngest a baby of eleven months — ^and I had to 
work for them. It is cruel and we ought to have the vote. I wish I 
could help you more. . . .’ 

Incessant were the appeals to the Government to give facilities for 
the Conciliation Bill that Session. Time and place would be harder 
to find next Session than this, argued the Manchester Guardian^ insist- 
ing that ‘if Mr. Asquith wishes to keep his promise in substance and 


effect or perhaps even to keep it at all, it is clear that the time for 
keeping it is now.’ 

The Conciliation Committee was waiting for Mr. Asquith’s 
consent to receive a deputation and the group of Liberal M.P.s also 
sought an interview with him for the same purpose of requesting 
facilities for the Bill. Still not a hint from the Government as to their 

Silence was broken at last. Mr. Lloyd George — ^not the Prime 
Minister — gave it, in reply to Lord Wolmer, who asked in the House 
of Commons whether the Government would, in view of the large 
majority the Bill had commanded, give facilities for its ‘passage into 
law this Session’. Mr. Lloyd George said that the Government recog- 
nized that, since the Conciliation Bill fulfilled their condition that it 
be so framed as to admit of free amendment, it was ‘their duty in this 
Parliament to give the promised facilities’. But not in this Session! 
‘The Cabinet,* he said, ‘had come to the conclusion that their own 
proposals for legislation would fully occupy a prolonged Session’ and 
‘that without jeopardizing the fortunes of these measures they could 
not allot to the Woman Suffrage Bill this year such an amount of time 
as its importance demands.’ 

Mr. Lloyd Geoige had not finished. ‘The Government,’ he went 
on, ‘will be prepared, next Session, when the Bill has again been read 
a second time, either as the result of obtaining a good place in the 
ballot or (if that does not happen) by the grant of a Government day 
for the purpose, to give a week (which they understand to be the 
time suggested as reasonable by the promoters) for its further 

A fire of questions followed. 

‘On what authority is the statement made that the sponsors of the 
Bill would be satisfied with a weeL^’ asked Mr. (later Viscount) Philip 

‘Or that the opponents of the Bill would be satisfied with a weeki*’ 
said Mr. F. E. Smith (afterwards Lord Birkenhead). 

‘Are we to take it that this week is equivalent in the ey^ of the 
Government to the “full facilities” promised by the Government in 
November.^’ inquired Mr. Leif Jones. 

‘It is understood — cannot say upon what authority, the repre- 
sentations were made by friends of the movement — ’ said Mr. Lloyd 
Geoi^e, ‘that in their judgment a week would satisfy the requirements 



of the promoters of the measure and the Government at the present 
stage cannot see their way to go beyond giving facilities for a 

A week and less would certainly have sufficed, if fair play were 
assured. But with members of the Government throwing apples of 
discord and scattering bones of contention during the further stages 
of the Bill’s progress, as they had done in the second reading Debate 
in 1910, a hard and fast week and nothing but a week would not do. 
No wonder, then, that Mr. Leif Jones, himself a Liberal, returned to 
the charge: ‘ I press for an answer to my question. Are we to take it 
that in the view of the Government a week of time in the next Session 
is the equivalent of the full facilities promised by the Government for 
this Bill?’ ‘May I ask,’ interposed Mr. Keir Hardie at this point, 
‘whether in the event of only a week being allocated to this measure, 
the Government will by means of the closure make it imperative that 
the Bill will go through in that time?’ 

‘I cannot give an assurance of that kind,’ replied Mr. Lloyd George. 
His further words opened up a painful vista of yet another blockage 
or wreckage of the Bill in the next Session, to be followed by another 
effort in the Session after that! 

The Conciliation Committee immediately protested. They 
questioned the Government as to the precise meaning of Mr. Lloyd 
George’s statement. 

On the motion for the adjournment of the House that night, 
Mr. Philip Snowden again called upon the Government to give 
facilities in the present Session. 

Nothing could surprise the W.S.P.U. where the Government 
were concerned, but even we had hoped for a better thing than this. 
‘No time’ was an obvious excuse. There never would be more time 
than now. Next Session never comes, was our first thought as Mr. 
Lloyd George’s reply reached us. The callous disregard of our efforts 
would have wounded our feelings, had we not learnt to regard poli- 
ticians as in some sense dehumanized and incapable of regarding non- 
voters entitled to ordinary consideration. That is a drawback of 
democracy — that its operators are tempted to think only in terms of 
votes. At least we had the remedy of action. We needed not to blow 
off the lid with anger. The steam of our determination could find its 
proper expression in deeds. 


Militancy or no militancy at Coronation time was still hanging in 
the balance — for the Government it seemed, and we were told, had 
perhaps not said their last word. The Prime Minister had yet to speak, 
and inside and outside the House there were negotiations to get from 
him a better statement than had come from Mr. Lloyd George. 

We were rapidly adding to our ‘Deputation List’ and women in 
greater numbers than ever before were enrolling for active service. 

At this point Sir Edward Grey intervened. At a banquet at the 
National Liberal Club to honour Mr. Andrew Carnegie for his service 
in the cause of international peace, Sir Edward Grey made a bid for 
national peace by an unexpected word about the Conciliation Bill. ‘If 
you will bear with me for a moment,’ he said, ‘I should like to say 
something which is not strictly relevant to this toast but by way of 
personal explanation and because I think it is important that it should 
be said now.’ Why had it to take precedence on this occasion of 
universal peace, to which the evening had been devoted.^ Because 
there were women to be pacified and Suffragette militancy to be 
warded off, at a season of all seasons when militancy would be most 

Sir Edward Grey wanted, he said, to ‘prevent a misapprehension 
about what the Government had said on woman suffrage’. The 
Government’s offer of a definite opportunity for the House of Com- 
mons to pass the Bill was. Sir Edward insisted, ‘not a bogus offer’. 

He continued: 

‘I should like to remove all the misconceptions which I hear are 
possible with regard to that offer. The Government are pledged 
to no more than a week. But they are not pledged at the end of a 
week. If the House of Commons votes to proceed, the Government 
will not step in and intervene. 

‘It is suggested,’ he went on, ‘that the week might be useless, 
because the promoters of the Bill will be helpless butts for obstruction 
with no powers of defence, making themselves and the Bill ridiculous. 
That is not the intention of the Government either. The intention is 
that those interested in the Bill should have a fair chance fot defend- 

ing themselves against obstruction and the making of reasonable 

So far as words went. Sir Edward Grey thus modified appreciably 
the previous statement of Mr. Lloyd George. ‘The whole question is 
now in a new situation,’ he concluded, ‘in which it is open for those 



who are in favour of it to devote the interval between this year and 
next, to so combining their efforts as to make the best use of what is 
a real opportunity in which effective progress may be made.’ 

‘Not a bogus offer!’ ‘A real opportunity!’ Yet reason for giving 
this offer and opportunity in 1912 existed now in 1911. Delays are 
dangerous and especially dangerous in politics. 

Doubt of the Government’s policy turned, in many quarters, to 
satisfaction when that policy was thus expounded by Sir Edward. 
‘You can trust him.’ ‘Grey is an honourable man,’ we heard. 

We of the W.S.P.U. had not learnt to draw such distinctions 
between one Liberal leader and the other. They had all, in our sad 
experience, appeared ‘much of a muchness’. 

‘We still regard the present Session as the golden opportunity for 
giving votes to women,’ said we. 

Obscurity still prevailed, even as to the facilities for next Session. 
Lord Lytton, by letter, asked the Prime Minister whether his Com- 
mittee rightly understood that the proffered week was intended by the 
Government not merely as an opportunity for a prolonged academic 
debate, but that if the Bill had in that time passed through committee, 
further days would be provided for the report and third reading stages 
and that the ordinary closure facilities would be available as in the 
case of a Government Bill. Lord Lytton added: ‘We cannot help 
being disappointed that no further progress is to be made with our 
Bill this Session, but if you can reassure us on the points I have 
mentioned you will remove a good deal of very natural anxiety.’ 

Mr. Asquith replied that ‘the week’ will be interpreted with 
reasonable elasticity. ‘The Government though divided in opinion as 
to the merits of the Bill are unanimous in their determination to give 
effect, not only in the letter but in the spirit, to the promise in regard 
to facilities which I made on their behalf before the last General 

The pledge to be kept not only in the letter but in the spirit! That 
did sound like full facilities. ‘Yet why the Government, having under- 
taken to give full facilities next Session, should hesitate to give them 
now is a mystery impossible to penetrate,’ I wrote at the time. This 
mystery was soon to become plain. 

Meanwhile, we had to decide our policy. The Government’s 



parleying had been long drawn out. Coronation Day had almost come. 
If a militant response to the refusal of facilities in 19 1 1 was to be made 
and timed effectively, we must decide and act. A very weighty reason 
for refraining from militancy was that the Conciliation Committee 
asked us to accept the Prime Minister’s promise, as they themselves 
had decided to accept it. Our great appreciation of their work and our 
sense of the value of that work, our strong wish to retain their co- 
operation made us wish to accept their advice and not bring their 
movement of conciliation to an end while there was any remaining 
possibility of its success. Naturally if this Conciliation experiment 
were to fail we should then resume the entire and independent conduct 
of our policy. This was initiated by women and from first to last 
conducted by women. The help of men was welcomed but a women’s 
movement must be led by women. 

The responsibility of decision was great. On the one hand there 
was the danger of being tricked by a worthless political promise, on 
the other hand there was the desirability of keeping with us, in 
understanding and sympathy, the Conciliation Committee, the large 
House of Commons majority which supported the Conciliation Bill, 
and the general public and vast numbers of as yet non-militant 

In strict logic we ought to accept nothing less than immediate 
1911 facilities for the Conciliation Bill. The Government’s refusal to 
let it be carried in the appropriate atmosphere of Coronation time was 
a positive danger signal. But by acting upon the real facts we might, 
at that special juncture, lose more than we should gain. It was not wise 
for us militants to risk breaking the Conciliation movement. If it were 
to be broken — ^and we hoped it might yet steer the Conciliation Bill 
safely to harboiur — then the Government, not we, should break it. If 
renewed militancy became inevitable, better let the Government make 
the need for it clear. Better let the entire responsibility for the good or 
ill-fete of the Conciliation Bill rest upon the Government! We would 
let neither the Government nor anyone else have the possibility of 
arguing that but for our resumption of militancy in 1911 the 
Conciliation Bill would have passed in 1912. 

Then our national feeling and loyalty were too strong to make 
militancy at Coronation time anything but painful to us. We were 
glad to be able to justify to ourselves a non-militant policy. 

Another strong, decisive fector in my own mind was the desire to 



win the vote, without the more drastic methods that I knew must be 
forced upon us, if the Government should continue much longer to 
withhold the vote. At least we might spin out the milder militancy a 
little further. 

Furthermore, even we felt that this new pledge for 1912 might be 
dependable. Sceptical as we had learnt from hard experience to be of 
the Government’s pledges, we were tempted to trust them this time. 

So we resolved to accept the Government’s pledge ‘in the spirit 
and in the letter’. We yielded to the spirit of the hour. Our great pro- 
cession, held a few days before the King and Queen were crowned, 
became a Coronation procession. Our message to the King and Queen, 
to which we received the Queen’s reply, read thus: ‘Our Women’s 
Social and Political Union tender to their Royal and Imperial 
Majesties, the King and Queen, their loyal and devoted service. May 
their reign be long and prosperous and their lives blessed with every 
happiness ! May the Empire prosper under their guidance and advance 
in strength, in honour and in righteousness, and may men and women, 
rendered equal before the law, secure, by their united endeavour, a 
future greater than heretofore.’ 

A mountain peak of a year was 1911, and that June the world’s 
happiest month for long to come. So with our movement, 27th June 
of Coronation Year saw the most joyous, beautiful and imposing of 
all our manifestations. ‘The women have had triumphal processions 
before,’ reported The Times^ ‘but this was beyond them all, in numbers 
and effect.’ 

The other societies joined with us in the march through London, 
Mrs. Fawcett at the head of her organization, Mrs. Despard at the head 
of hers, the many sectional suffrage societies, representing particular 
sections of women, such as the writers, the doctors, the actresses, 
the teachers and the rest. Women of all professions, trades and 
interests were there in their many thousands, women from every part 
of the kingdom and every part of the Empire, women from foreign 
lands. There was pageantry arranged by painters and sculptors. Queens 
and other great women of the past were represented, a hundred bands 
and countless flags and banners made the whole array beautiful to eye 
and ear. The processionists were so many that they marched five 
abreast. Mother walked at the head. Seven hundred women who had 
been prisoners for the vote had place of honour. The streets were 
thronged with cheering crowds. 


It was Suffrage Day! The climax of all peaceful effort! In this 
direction there was nothing more left to do. 

Our contingent, and as many others as could find room there, 
massed in the Albert Hall, where we resolved that ‘This meeting 
rejoices in the coming triumph of the votes-for-women cause and 
pledges itself to turn to account the Prime Minister’s pledge of full 
and effective facilities for the Women’s Enfranchisement Bill’. 

The Coronation over, we set ourselves to what Mrs. Pethick- 
Lawrence aptly called twelve months’ hard labour ! It would again be 
a year stolen from our life as citizens. We felt the injustice of making 
the suffrage campaign last forty-five, instead of forty-four, years since 
the first House of Commons’ vote on women’s enfranchisement. But 
we made the best of it, determined to re-merit in 1912 the success that 
ought to have been ours at latest in 1910. 

The Conciliation Committee were manfully doing their part. 
Lord Lytton, at one of our meetings in the Queen’s Hall, declared his 
intention to devote the whole of the intervening months to the cause. 
Many friendly M.P.s were showing vigilance in the Bill’s behalf. 
Mr. Philip Snowden, at one of our meetings, warned us that opponents 
of the Bill were openly threatening to move widening amendments in 
the direction of Adult Suffrage which ‘as there is no support in Parlia- 
ment of Adult Suffrage would be wrecking amendments’. He neverthe- 
less declared his hope that the Bill would safely pass and that ‘at the 
next election women will vote’. Another warning of the danger of 
widening the Bill and so defeating it by losing its moderate supporters 
came from Mr. Arthur (later Lord) Ponsonby, who said that even a 
quarter of a loaf would be better than no bread and that he would 
support the Conciliation Bill. Lord Robert Cecil (Viscount Cecil 
of Chelwood), another active champion, rejoiced that we had won 
for 1912 ‘an absolutely substantial and definite pledge from the 

He also warned us of widening amendments. One such proposal 
was to give votes to ‘all women married to qualified voters’. That, 
Lord Robert pointed out, would mean that instead of the one million 
women voters who would be enfranchised und^r the Conciliation Bill 
there would be some five or six million women voters. 

We had already heard of this project. Mr. Lloyd George was its 


1 86 

author, so rumour ran. Our view was that one million votes for 
women were better than none! Even by means of a Government 
measure, to give six million votes to women all at once would in those 
days have been a big task. But to insist upon putting six million women 
aboard the little cockle-shell of a Private Member’s Bill was inviting 
fatal shipwreck. Our main concern was not with the manbers of women 
to be enfranchised but with the removal of a stigma upon womanhood 
as such. Even if the vote were to be given only to women with black 
hair or to women of a certain height, it would mean that the barrier 
against women as women had been broken. However, we would 
not let mere rumour respecting the attitude of any member of the 
Government dismay us. 

An alarm was, however, suddenly raised when Mr. Lloyd George, 
in reply to a question in the House of Commons, was understood to 
say that the facilities promised to the Conciliation Bill might be given 
to some rival measure. Lord Lytton at once asked Mr. Asquith for more 
light on the matter, since Mr. Lloyd George’s statement had ‘aroused 
all the doubts and misgivings which had been completely set at rest 
by the assurance contained in your letter to me of June 15 th’. 

Mr. Asquith said that he had ‘no hesitation in saying that the 
promise made by and on behalf of the Government in regard to 
facilities for the Conciliation Bill will be adhered to both in the spirit 
and in the letter’. 

Mother, who had been covering anew all the old ground, now 
decided that she would make another visit to Canada and the 
United States. I think she went as much for a holiday as anything. 
‘The voyage there and back always rests me,’ she used to say. Indeed, 
they were almost the only rest she ever got. So away she sailed, with 
the comforting assurance that she had done her part for the time being 
towards the victory of 1912, that the rest of us would be working 
during her absence and that she would be back in time for another big 
campaign, before the Bill was due for debate in 1912. 

Mother had been not many days in America when the Government 
‘exploded a mine’, as The Times expressed it, under the Conciliation 

The Prime Minister received a deputation introduced by Mr. 
Arthtir Henderson, a deputation which did not concentrate upon the 


issue of Woman Suffrage, but complained of all the various anomalies 
of the then existing Franchise law and asked for Adult Suffrage, 
‘using the term in the broadest sense to include women’. Mr. Asquith 
jumped at this idea of giving votes to more men, even to all men! He 
declared that ‘a man’s right to vote depends upon his being a citizen’. 
The basis of women’s claim to vote was, of course, precisely the same 
— ^but Mr. Asquith did not recognize that. He assured Mr. Henderson 
that the Government, next Session, would introduce a Bill putting the 
franchise on this simple and rational foundation that considering the 
Government’s former pledge to women, Mr. Asquith had to say 
something on the point. The Conciliation Bill, he said, would receive 
the facilities promised, and the newly promised Franchise Bill, for men 
only, would be introduced in such a form that it would be open to the 
House of Commons, if it so pleased, to add a Woman Suffrage Amend- 
ment. Mr. Asquith explained that he said this ‘lest it be supposed he 
had gone back on anything he had promised in the past’ ! 

A cruel blow was this! Even the Liberal Daily Chromcle had to 
admit that ‘the Government’s policy may cut the ground from under 
the Conciliation Bill while on the other hand reducing the support at 
present available for the cause of Woman Suffrage’. ‘Mr. Asquith’s 
bombshell will blow the Conciliation Bill to bits,’ said the Everting 

Naturally we condemned this pronouncement. By associating 
woman suffrage with their policy of Manhood Suffrage, the Govern- 
ment had made it a Party question^ while refusing to make it a Party 
measure. The Government, we protested, were seeking to destroy the 
composite majority behind the Conciliation Bill, by alienating Union- 
ists and Moderate Liberals, and so rendering impossible a non-party 
solution of the woman suffrage question. 

We militants returned to our original demand — that the Govern- 
ment as such should take full responsibility for initiating and carrying 
into law a measure giving votes to women. 

The mockery of it was that there had been no real work done to 
bring about a wider franchise, and the Manhood Suffrage Bill was the 
fruit of our agitation for votes for women! ‘With absolutely no 
demand, no ghost of a demand for more votes for men and with . . . 
beyond all cavil ... a very strong demand for votes for women, the 
Government announces their Manhood Suffrage Bill,’ was the accu- 
rate summing-up of one of the weekly Reviews. 



Women SufTragists themselves unanimously condemned the 
Government’s declaration, and Mrs. Fawcett, the non-militant leader, 
declared: ‘If it has been Mr. Asquith’s object to enrage every Woman 
Suffragette to the point of frenzy, he could not have acted with 
greater perspicacity.’ 

Mrs. Bernard Shaw exactly expressed the sentiments of Women 
Suffragettes whether militant or non-militant when she said that 
Mr. Asquith’s speech filled her with an ‘impulse of blind rage’. 

We militants, however, were not frenzied, we were firm. We were 
moved not by an impulse of blind rage but by the determination to 

We announced a deputation to the Prime Minister and Mr. Lloyd 
George, to be led in Mother’s absence by Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence. 

Mr. Asquith consented to receive the deputation, indeed he had 
‘already arranged’, he said, ‘to receive a deputation from various 
Suffrage Societies, including ours if we desired it’. 

Mr. Asquith and Mr, Lloyd George together received the repre- 
sentatives of nine suffrage societies at lo Downing Street, the 
W.S.P.U. being represented by Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, Mrs. Tuke, 
Annie Kenney, Lady Constance Lytton, Elizabeth Robins, and myself. 

The night before the deputation we met, thousands strong, in the 
Albert Hall. Mother, who of course had been all the time in close 
touch by cable, sent to the meeting this message: ‘I share your indig- 
nation at the Government’s insult to women and am ready to renew 
the fight.’ She seemed actually present with us. Waves of cheering 
were the response to her words. 

We called upon the Government to abandon the Manhood Suffrage 
Bill and introduce in its stead a measure giving equal franchise rights 
to men and women. If the Prime Minister refused this demand, Mrs. 
Pethick-Lawrence would, she announced, lead a protest against that 
refusal. ‘The Conciliation Bill is dead,’ she said, ‘slain not by our hand. 
Militancy is not dead. The Government have nothing to fear from 
women except militancy. It was to stop militancy that the pledge was 
given for 1912. They wanted to get the Coronation over without un- 
pleasantness. I think we have got to do more fighting.’ 

The deputation duly arrived at 10 Downing Street. Mr. Asquith 
that day was rosy-faced and smiling. He might have been Father 
Christmas with votes for women in his bag of presents. Mr. Lloyd 
George was pale and lowering. A visitor from afary straying into the 



room, would have taken Mr. Asquith for the champion of votes for 
women and Mr. Lloyd George for the hardened and implacable anti- 
Suffragist. Mrs. Fawcett briefly introduced the deputation and called 
on me to express our views. ‘. . . Let the Government abandon the 
Manhood Suffrage Bill and introduce in its stead a measure giving 
precisely equal franchise rights to men and women!* I said. 'Let the 
measure be carried in the next Session of Parliament that it may have 
the benefit of the new Parliament Act! Let the Government stand or 
fall by the Bill as a whole just as they would by any other measure on 
their programme! We urge you to deal as fairly by us as you would 
by men; we, too, are by right citizens; we too want to work as citizens 
for the good of the country!* 

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence then spoke of the Manhood Suffrage Bill 
as an insult to women and a sign of hostility to their cause. ‘The 
W.S.P.U.,* she said, ‘unanimously support the demand and unless 
the assurance we ask is conceded, the W.S.P.U. will be driven to 
take up the challenge of hostility which you have laid by your recent 

Lady Selbome and Lady Betty Balfour followed on behalf of their 
organizations, Lady Betty declaring it intolerable that the franchise 
should be changed for men until the political disability imposed upon 
women had been removed. Mrs. Despard, as representing the other 
Militant Society, the Women’s Freedom League, protested against 
government without consent, and her fellow delegate Mrs. How- 
Martyn maintained that to take the demand for votes for women and 
convert it into Manhood Suffrage was both illiberal and the worst 
kind of class legislation. 

Speaking for the Women Trade Unionists in the North of Eng- 
land, Miss Eva Gore-Booth said that the Government must not be 
surprised by the disappointment and bitterness caused by their 
announcement. Other speakers concurred. Mrs. Fawcett urged the 
Government to ‘incorporate some form of Woman Suffrage* in their 
Franchise Bill and, then, in order to elucidate the Government’s 
‘pledge*, asked whether they intended to pass their Reform Bill 
through all its stages in 1912, and whether if a Woman Suffrage 
Amendment were adopted by the House of Commons the Government 
would regard the Amendment as an integral part of the Bill and 
defend it in all its further stages. 

Mr. Asquith’s manner in reply was all geniality, and his remarks 



flowery with compliments to those who had addressed him. ‘It was 
impossible,’ he said, ‘to listen to such speeches from ladies of so many 
classes, interests and areas in this great movement without realizing, 
as he believed they all did realize, die intensity of feeling which pre- 
vailed.’ Renewing his ‘pledge’, Mr. Asquith solemnly affirmed that the 
Government’s Bill would be redrafted on sufficiently broad lines to 
admit of amendments dealing with woman suffrage ‘and that it would 
be a breach of the understanding if the Bill were not so drafted’. He 
further promised, in reply to Mrs. Fawcett’s question, that the Govern- 
ment would regard any Woman Suffrage Amendment carried by the 
House of Commons as having become an integral part of the Bill and 
would certainly defend it in all its ‘stages’. 

Why then would the Government not include woman suffrage in 
their Reform Bill as originally introduced.^ We militants knew that 
the Government must see a great difference between the two proce- 
dures and that this difference was dangerous, and would indeed prove 
fatal. We could not, therefore, accept the Premier’s ‘pledge’. 

‘Miss Pankhurst, in a very able speech,’ said Mr. Asquith, ‘used 
one or two rather strong expressions to which of course I do not take 
any exception. She talked of terms of peace, presenting, I might say, 
a pistol in one hand and a dagger in the other at the Government. 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, too, used some expressions about being 
tricked and betrayed. Where does the trick come in.^ I am pointing 
out to you that the position of the Government is perfectly consistent. 
I quite tmderstand Miss Pankhurst’s position. She says it is our duty 
ourselves to introduce a Bill conferring the franchise on women on 
the same terms as men. It is an intelligible position but we have never 
promised to do anything of the kind.' If you ask me why we don’t do 
it, I will tell you once more: I am the head of the Government, and 
I am not going to make myself responsible for the introduction of a 
measure which I do not conscientiously believe to be in the best 
interests of the country.’ 

How, then, could we trust in his pledge to become responsible 
for the same measure of woman suffrage, after the House of Com- 
mons should have endorsed it.^ Mr. Asquith’s own words were a warn- 
ing against confiding in his pledge! All the more so were his next 
words: ‘Miss Pankhurst thinks we should take the thing up and 
become ourselves the official sponsors of equality between the sexes 
in regard to the franchise. I tmderstand and tespect that point of view. 


but it is one that the Government have consistently disclaimed from 
the first.’ This statement was a flat contradiction of his pledge that 
after the House of Commons had carried the votes for women amendment^ 
the Government could certainly take it up and become its protagonists and 
official sponsors, ‘and would regard the amendment as an integral part 
of the Bill and defend it in all its stages’. 

Mr. Asquith ended his discourse with the words ‘. . . That ought 
to satisfy you.’ I said: ‘We are not satisfied.’ ‘No,’ said Mr. Asquith, 
‘I don’t expect to satisfy you.’ 

Mr. Lloyd George, still pale and gloomy, briefly counter-signed 
Mr. Asquith’s undertaking. ‘The only thing I would say now is this,’ 
he said, ‘and I say it after twenty-one years’ experience of Parliament 
— don’t you commit yourselves too readily to the statement that this 
is a trick upon Woman Suffrage. If you find next year as a result of 
this “trick” that several millions of women have been added in a Bill 
to the franchise, and that this Bill has been sent to the House of Lords 
by the Government, and that the Government stand by this Bill, 
whatever the Lords do, those who have committed themselves in this 
ill-conditioned suggestion will look very foolish.’ 

‘We shall not mind that, as long as we get the vote,’ I answered 

The other societies reserved their opinion until later. We all made 
respective pronouncements to the Press and at meetings. The non- 
militants regarded the Prime Minister’s statement as ‘a distinct advance 
in the political situation’ and considered it now ‘almost certain’ that 
the enfranchisement of women would be realized next year. We 
militants were convinced of the contrary, greatly as we should have 
liked to share the non-militant optimism. 

Rallying for protest at Caxton Hall, we ‘condemned the Govern- 
ment’s announcement of a Manhood Suffrage Bill, as a grave and un- 
pardonable insult to women, firmly refused to allow the political 
enfranchisement of women to depend on a mere amendment to the 
Manhood Suffrage Bill, and demanded that the Government introduce 
and carry in the next session of Parliament a measure giving equal 
franchise to men and women’. We further resolved to ‘enforce this 
reasonable demand upon the attention of the Government by vigorous 
and determined militant action’. 

A deputation then set forth that would, unless forcibly beaten 
back by sheer brute force, ‘protest on the floor of the House of 



Commons in the presence of all the Numbers, against the dlep insLtlt 
of Manhood Suffrage that had beep offered to the Womanhood opthe 
country’. So saying, Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence led the way towards 
Parliament Square. Hundreds fdllowed her, owing to a rumour that 
the police would resist the deputation at the doors of Caxton Hall. The 
general public had assembled in great numbers. The Go.vernment had 
made the usual preparations, which were, as a Press account remarked, 
‘exceedingly impressive’, for the police ‘stood in a double line’, while 
‘strong bodies of thfim marched up and down, appearing from all sorts 
of hiding-places to take up their positions’. After noting the presence 
of an ambulance detachment ‘which gave an air of gravity to the 
arrangements’, the same report told of the efforts of thg yoijien to 
break through the police lines, and the ‘thousands of people’ who 
‘followed the movements of the police, who were subjected to hooting 
and booing’. 

The leader of the deputation was arrested as well as two hundred 
and twenty others. Lady Constance LyttOn, Mrs. Brailsford, Mrs. 
Marshall, Miss Wallace Dunlop, the Hon. Mrs. Haverfield, Miss 
Winifred Mayo, Miss Naylor, Miss Evelyn Sharpj were again among 
the arrested ones, and newcomers to this list of honour included Lady 
Sybil Smith, Miss Janie Allen, Mrs. Sadd Brown, Mrs. Mansell- 
Moullin, Miss Edith Downing, Miss Marie Pethick, Miss Janet Steer 
and Mrs. Janet Boyd, aunt of Viscountess Rhondda. , 

Window-breaking on a large scale took place that night. The 
experience of Black Friday had moved numbers of women to this 
course and they had been yet more moved thereto by the Govern- 
ment’s latest method of blocking the way to Women’s Enfranchise- 
ment. Government buildings, through whose windows had gone 
stony messages, included the War Office, the Home Office, the 
Foreign Office, the Treasury. The windows of the National Liberal 
Club were broken, the Liberal Publication Office, the residence of 
Mr. Harcourt and Mr. John Bums. Some shop windows were also 

The reason for window-^breaking was given before the magistrate 
by one of the arrested women in these words: ‘I did It to prbtest 
against the Government bringing in a Manhood Suffrage Bill when 
the real demand has been for votes for women.’ tady Constance 
Lytton said ‘votes and riot are the only two forces of appeal to which 
the Government will respond. They refuse us votes; therefore we fall 

Mabel Tuke 
Keir Hardie 

Mrs. Despard 
Mary Gawthorpe 

Dame Ethel Smythe 

Victor Duval — Founder of Men’s Political Union for 
Women’s Suffrage 
Vera Holme 


back on riot'. Lady Sybil Smith, charged with pushing a constable 
who was taking Miss Downing into custody, said she had acted de- 
liberately as a protest against the Government’s policy, because she’ 
considered that to enfranchise more men while as yet no women were 
enfranchised was an insult to the womanhood of the country. . . . ‘The 
Conciliation Bill has been torpedoed.’ The words were Mr. Lloyd 
George’s. Exactly what the militants had known from the first! The 
torpedoing of the Conciliation Bill made the road clear, Lloyd George 
affirmed, ‘for the insertion of an amendment which would include the 
working man’s wife*. We only wished that it had! That explains, said 
he, ‘the fury of those anti-Liberal women*. So he called us, whereas 
we contended that the Government themselves were anti-Liberal in 
their dealing with our cause. ‘Nothing would they hate more,’ he said, 
of us, ‘than to see that carried next year.’ 

Mf< tloyd ^ol-ge% words were not in accord with the fact. Our 
joy wpuld have been boundless had we believed that the next year 
would sei? these, mjllioiw of wctmen enfranchised. But we knew that 
this woUjld not happen aRd that there was on the contrary grave 
danger of an extension . of the franchise for men only, which would 
build Up "aj|linsf -ivonien a greater barrier than ever. 

We were a good de^l denounced by some newspapers for oitf 
reheV/ed l>nf > others began to understand and sometimes 

even to acknowledge the method in our work. The Nottingham''^ fpr example, said that much nonsense had been spoken and 
written by those t^ho ‘have not studied the history of their own 
countlry’, and so have hot learnt that ‘something in the nature of a 
political earthquake is always necessary’ to get action on public 
questions. ‘But for the Suffragettes and their militancy,’ declared this 
newspaptfTj ‘no progress would have been made until the crack of 

Mpther.sent word Jp us that she would be soon with us again, 
takiiig her pattAntihe^sfruggle, and meantime she said: ‘I am going to 
Canada to rouse the *^m:eh of that vast Dominion to unite with the 
wonStsf Motheircountry in the fight for justice.’ 

Nfr. Lldyd *||pb^e and Sir Edward Grey were to speak at a meeting 
arranged by Liberal Federation. All women applying 

for tickets had to sign a pledge not to interrupt the speakers, or even 



to ask any question. Our questions to them were therefore printed on 
a handbill and given out at the door. 

Perfect calm reigned therefore as the two speakers expounded to 
the audience of Liberal women the meaning of the Government’s 

Sir Edward Grey had a fling at militancy, but admitted that ‘before 
the Reform Bill of 1832, before men had votes, there was infinitely 
more violence than now’. Defending the Government’s ‘pledge’ 
against our imputation of falsity, he insisted that the Government 
Reform Bill would be brought in and that a Woman Suffrage Amend- 
ment could and would be carried, for, said he: ‘It is to me inconceivable 
that a House of Commons which has more than once, by large majori- 
ties, approved the principle of woman suffrage, should calmly proceed 
to pass through all its stages a Bill widening the suffrage for men 
without doing something to remove the barrier against women.’ 

He finally appealed to all to unite in regarding the Government 
Bill as ‘the greatest opportunity woman suffrage has yet had’. 

Mr. Lloyd George said ditto to Sir Edward Grey. ‘He had,’ he 
said, ‘answered a long series of interrogatories, which have been 
administered through the Press.’ Administered by us militants, of 
course! ‘Our success is assured,’ he concluded. ‘. . . I feel confident 
that next year will see the inclusion in the Government measure of an 
amendment which will enfranchise millions of women.’ 

Just two days earlier, Mr, Asquith had been saying his say to an 
anti-Suffragist deputation led not by a woman but a man. Lord 
Curzon, who officiated instead of Lord Cromer. ‘We know,’ Lord 
Curzon said, ‘that the Cabinet is divided on this matter, but we also 
know to our satisfaction that in you we have a sympathizer and a 

Mr. Asquith, while reaffirming his minority position in the Cabinet 
on this issue, expressed agreement with the views of the deputation. 
‘The grant of the franchise to the women in this country would,’ he 
thought, ‘be a political mistake of a very disastrous kind.’ Mr. Asquith 
further said that if the anti-Suffragists would pursue ‘effective militant 
operations of a constitutional kind’, he entertained very strong hopes 
that ‘some of the jubilations heard from the supporters of woman 
suffrage would prove to have been “premature”.’ 

Our impression of these various ministerial utterances were un- 
favourable. Both Mr. Lloyd George and Sir Edward Grey had said 


that their loyalty to the Prime Minister precluded them from insisting 
that woman suffrage be made from the outset an integral part of the 
Reform Bill. Sir Edward Grey had argued that the Cabinet would 
break up if he and other Suffragist Ministers were to press the point, 
and that, he declared, would be ‘a disaster to the Suffrage cause’. We 
replied: ‘Once woman suffrage has been the cause of a Cabinet split, 
it will not be far from triumph.’ 

Another statement of Sir Edward Grey which we contested was 
that ‘it was a great mistake to make the Government the objective of 
your efforts’. ‘Since when,’ we asked, ‘had the Government ceased to 
be responsible for the manner in which the country is governed?’ 

As Mr. Lloyd George was leaving the above-mentioned meeting, 
a member of the Men’s Political Union threw an attache-case through 
the window of the car. On being arrested he said that what he did was 
done on his own initiative entirely independent of everybody. He had 
merely meant to break the window of the car to protest against the 
Government’s dealing with the woman suffrage cause and its advo- 
cates. Mr. Lloyd George appeared at Bow Street as a witness in the 
case. He said that he had been bruised on the left cheek and accepted 
the statement of the accused that the act was unpremeditated — ^which 
admittedly was borne out by the method adopted — and a sentence of 
two months’ imprisonment was imposed. Men are more inclined, as 
history shows, to attack their opponents, and it was harder for them 
than it was for the Suffragettes themselves to observe our rule of not 
using force against persons, as distinct from things. It was hardly to 
be wondered at if men who had seen Cabinet Ministers using force 
against women in the form of violent ejections from meetings, and 
forcible feeding in prison, should answer this force by force. But for 
Mother’s restraining influence, men champions of the women’s cause 
would assuredly have taken to far more drastic measures. 

Coronation Year 1911, which had begun with such bright hope 
of women’s victory, had seen that hope destroyed. Our loyalty to the 
Throne which had made us keep the truce to militancy had been des- 
pised and exploited by the Government. The pledge regarding the 
Conciliation Bill, whereby the Government had bought peace at 
Coronation time, had, to reverse the Prime Minister’s promise, ‘been 
broken in the letter and in the spirit’. The Conciliation Bill had been 
admittedly ‘torpedoed’. 

The year that opened in sunshine ended in storm. 


1912 — Women’s War 

Mr. Hobhouses Incitement — Wholesale Glass-breaking — 
Escape — Control from Paris 

1 C AN NOT start the New Year without putting my name down for 
the next protest against the policy of the Government.’ 1 fully 
realize that the only way to get the vote is to fight for it.* ‘Please 
enter my name for the next protest. I should like to help to hasten the 
day when we shall have votes for women.* 

Messages such as these came thick and fast to the W.S.P.U. head- 
quarters as 1912 began. Rumours appeared in the Press that it would 
be ‘impossible* for pro-Suffragist and anti-Suffragist Ministers of the 
Government to oppose one another on the public platform by speak- 
ing, some for and others against votes for women, although the pro- 
Suffrage Ministers had undertaken to campaign in favour of the 
women’s amendment. 

Women noticed in the New Year a strange silence as to votes for 
women on the part of their ‘friends in the Cabinet*. Mr. Lloyd George 
at Cardiff, Lord Haldane at Nottingham, Lord Grey at Sunderland, 
Mr. Runciman at Newcastle, said not one word of the cause they had 
promised to advocate in order to assure its inclusion in the Reform 
Bill. If the Suffragettes had not been present to heckle them, they 
would not even have mentioned votes for women. 

Mother had now returned from her tour in Canada and the United 
States, where she had travelled 10,000 miles and spoken in many 
different places. At a welcome meeting in London she applauded the 
protest we had made in her absence against the Government’s ‘gross 
breaph of their pledge regarding the Conciliation Bill*. She announced 
that ^he would again lead a protest against this policy. 

An ominous hint was now given in the political notes in The Times 
that the Government’s Reform Bill might, as drafted and introduced, 
be impossible of amendment to include woman suffrage. However, in 


1 ^ 11 — women’s war 197 

a reply, presumably inspired by the Government, it was said that ‘No 
serious notice is taken of the suggestion that a Woman Suffrage 
Amendment would be out of order in the Reform Bill. This difficulty 
has been present in the minds of the Cabinet throughout and is not 
regarded as unsurmountable. In both preamble and clauses the 
Measure will be framed to allow of such an amendment. Woman 
Suffrage amendments were moved and voted on in the Reform Bills 
of 1867 and 1884.’ 

That was true. Indeed the Woman Suffrage Amendment of 1884 
would have been carried but for the opposition of the Liberal Prime 
Minister of that day, for then, as in 1912, there was a House of Com- 
mons majority pledged to vote for woman suffrage. 

It will be noted, then, that in 1912 the Government were fore- 
warned of the need of taking especial care in the drafting of the Man- 
hood Suffrage Bill, if the alleged ‘opportunity’ for women were to 
have the faintest shadow of reality. 

The Cabinet, as a whole, said no more as to their Suffrage policy. 
When Mr. Lloyd George came to speak at the City Liberal Club, a 
gentleman seated at the reporters’ table said that ‘When the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer speaks, we should like to hear something in 
reference to the Cabinet and women’s enfranchisement.* Mr. Lloyd 
George denied that there was any split in the Cabinet or any feud 
between the Prime Minister and himself on votes for women. At the 
close of the proceedings the same inquirer asked for a ‘few words 
about the Sqffrage question’, but not a word more said Mr. Lloyd 

We now awaited the Autumn Session and the King’s Speech. 
‘Unless in the King’s Speech a Government measure to give votes 
to women is promised, Mrs. Pankhurst will place herself at the head 
of a great demonstration of protest to take place two weeks after the 
opening of Parliament,* wrote Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, and she added: 
‘Let the Union as one woman rise and go with her.* 

We pointed out that if, as Mr. Lloyd George had said, there was 
no Suffrage split in the Cabinet, one section must have yielded to the 
other. Which side had yielded? Had Mr. Lloyd George and Sir Edward 
Grey surrendered their principles or the anti-Suffragists their preju- 
dices? ! 

A grave incitement to militancy was now delivered by a Cabinet 
Minister, Mr. Hobhouse, at a speech in Bristol, the scene of the great 



franchise riots prior to the Reform Act of 1832. He declared that in 
the case of votes for women there had not been the kind of popular 
sentimental uprising which accounted for the burning of Nottingham 
Castle in 1832 or the tearing up of the Hyde Park railings in 1867. In 
fact, there had been ‘no ebullition of popular feeling’. 

This sensational challenge to women by a responsible Minister of 
the Crown had a decisive effect on the future course of the woman 
suffrage movement. 

Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, untiring in ‘Votes for Women’, pointed 
out that the popular sentimental uprising to which Mr. Hobhouse had 
referred was ‘the burning of the castle of the anti-Suffrage Duke of 
Newcastle. Colurch, the seat of another anti-Suffrage gentleman in 
the neighbourhood, was set on fire and his wife died of illness caused 
by the shock.’ No arrests were made in connection with these crimes. 

After this the King besought the Whig Ministry favourable to the 
Reform Bill not to resign and ‘it was intimated that the Peers who 
had thrown out the Bill would no longer oppose it’. The Lord Chan- 
cellor, the Lord Brougham, leader of the Reform Party in the House 
of Lords, criticized the violent acts in question but ‘hastened to add’ 
that the Reform Bill would be reintroduced and ‘in a very short period 
become part and parcel of the law of the land’. These emphatic words, 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence recalled, ‘produced their effect. The militant 
agitation calmed down.’ She quoted the sequel from Mrs. Molesworth’s 
History of England-. ‘The anti-Reformers, who had been terrified at 
the first violence which had followed the rejection of the Reform Bill 
. . . finding that the people bore their disappointment with patience 
and calmness, began to take heart and to assert that a reaction had 
commenced and that the people were sick of Reform. 

‘Then it was,’ said Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, ‘that the city of Bristol, 
which now counts Mr. Hobhouse as one of its representatives, became 
the theatre of an outburst which filled the Kingdom with consternation. 
In the Art Gallery today can be seen pictures of the riots and one 
picture in particular shows Queen’s Square in flames and bears at 
the foot the following inscription: “On Sunday, October 30th, 1831, 
between the hotus of 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock, the new Gaol, the Toll 
House, Bishop’s Palace, two sides of Queen’s Square, including the 
Mansion House, Custom House, Excise Office, warehouses and other 
property to the amount of upwards of ;(^ioo,ooo was totally 

1 ^ 12 — women’s war 199 

‘So fully,’ said Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, ‘did the Government, the 
Peers and the King understand the argument of arson and destruction, 
that the Reform Bill became law a few months afterwards, namely in 
June 1832.’ 

By holding up to women the example of men’s methods of win- 
ning the vote, Mr. Hobhouse was taking the very grave responsibility 
of inciting them, said Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, ‘to serious forms of 
violence, compared to which Mrs. Pankhurst’s exhortation is mildness 

Mother’s milder exhortation to militancy had been made at a 
gathering of welcome to Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence and other prisoners, 
on their release from Holloway Gaol. 

‘It is perhaps one of the strangest things of our civilization,’ 
Mother said, ‘that women in the twentieth century find the appeal to 
justice and to reason of less political value than the breaking of panes 
of glass. Yet there is no doubt that is true. We honour these women 
because, having learnt the value of the broken window in politics, 
they nerved themselves to use it. “Deeds not Words’’ is the motto of 
this movement and we are going to prove our love and gratitude to 
our released prisoners by continuing the use of the stone as an argu- 
ment in the further protests we have to make. Is not a woman’s life, 
her health, more valuable than panes of glass.^’ 

Volunteers enlisted in greater numbers than ever before. 

Mrs. Pankhurst issued a handbill to men and women. ‘I invite you 
to come to Parliament Square, Monday, March 4th, 1912, at 8 o’clock, 
to take part in a great Protest Meeting against the Government’s 
refusal to include women in their Reform Bill.’ 

A crisis now arose for the W.S.P.U. and the women’s movement. 
Parliamentary questions, which may or may not have had some 
official inspiration, were asked regarding Mrs. Pankhurst’s speech on 
the forthcoming demonstration. The Home Secretary, Mr. McKenna, 
said that his attention had been drawn to this ‘inflammatory speech’, 
as he called it, but ‘it would not be desirable in the public interest to 
say more than this at present’. 

The Home Secretary was also asked whether he had noticed the 
inflammatory speech of his colleague Mr. Hobhouse, objeaing that 
there was not behind woman suffrage the sentimental and popular 



uprising which accounted for the burning of Nottingham Castle. Was 
not that statement an incitement to women to go and do likewise.^ 
Mr. McKenna would not accept this invitation to ‘criticize the speech 
of my colleague'. 

Evidently the Government were preparing some big blow to put 
an end to militancy. 

In a letter to Mr. Asquith, Mrs. Pankhurst called for further 
explanation of the Government's intentions and sought an interview 
for the discussion of matters which had arisen since the previous 
autumn. She received the usual negative reply. She then made her 
protest, in company with many other volunteers, the protest being 
spread over two days. 

A band of women [reported the Daily Telegraph] set out on such a 
window-breaking campaign in the principal streets of the West End, as 
London has never known. For a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, 
nothing was heard in the Strand, Cockspur Street, Downing Street, 
Whitehall, Piccadilly, Bow Street or Oxford Street, but the falling, shat- 
tered glass. . . . Many of the finest shop fronts in the world had been 
temporarily destroyed and splinters of glass had been scattered over 
their valuable contents. The attack was begun practically simultaneously. 
It was one of the busiest periods of the day. Suddenly women, who a 
moment before had appeared to be on peaceful shopping expeditions, 
produced from bags or muffs, hammers, stones, and sticks and began an 
attack on the nearest windows. Information was immediately conveyed 
to the police and all the reserve constables were hurried out. 

The most daring incident of the day, was the excursion of Mrs. 
Pankhurst and two other ladies to Downing Street. The police patrols 
in the street were taken completely by surprise. A large force of extra 
police immediately proceeded to Downing Street. In spite of the 
efforts of the constables however, four other women escaped their 
vigilance and succeeded in inflicting further damage before they were 

Mother, who had driven in a cab to the Prime Minister's residence, 
was arrested with her two companions, Mrs. Tuke and Mrs. Arthur 

In the dock next morning Mother said to the magistrate: ‘The last 
time I was here I laid before you certain reasons for my action with 
whidi I do not propose to trouble you this morning. At that time I 


1912 — women’s war 

hoped that what we were doing would be sufficient. Since then the 
Government have left me and other women no possible doubt as to 
our position. We have not the vote, because, hitherto, we have not 
been able to bring ourselves to use the methods which won the vote 
for men, and within the last formight a member of the Government 
has challenged us to do very much more serious things than we are 
now charged before you with doing. Over a week ago, I wrote to the 
Prime Minister asking him to see a deputation of women. The request 
was refused with contempt. Yet Cabinet Ministers have gone, cap in 
hand, to the Miners’ Federation. [A miners’ strike was then in pro- 
gress.] I hope that this will be enough to convince the Government 
that our agitation is going on. If not, if you send me to prison, as soon 
as I come out I shall go further and show that women must have some 
voice in the making of the laws which they have to obey.’ Mother was 
sentenced to two months’ imprisonment. 

One hundred and twenty other women had now been arrested and 
on the following Monday, when the protest was renewed, their number 
was greatly increased, and included the veteran Mrs. Saul Solomon, 
Dr. (Dame) Ethel Smyth, Mrs. Brackenbury and her two daughters, 
Mrs. Ayrton Gould and Miss Downing the sculptor. 

The Government now dealt us their great blow. It was to arrest 
those who were diitcting the policy, controlling the organization and 
editing the paper 'F'otes for Women. Already hints and rumours had 
been afloat that the leaders would be arrested and sent to prison for a 
long term of years. The hope was, perhaps, that this threat would 
produce surrender. But the vote was worth the price of years of im- 
prisonment and if the Government imprisoned the leaders others 
would carry on the fight. 

The Government acted. Mother and Mrs. Tuke were already in 
prison under sentence of two months’ imprisonment. A warrant was 
issued for the arrest of Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence and myself. All 
five were charged with conspiring, on and since the ist day of Novem- 
ber 1911, to commit damage and injury to property of ‘liege subjects 
of our Lord and King’ and aiding and abetting, counselling and pro- 
cunng the commission of offences against the provision of Section 5 
of an Act of i86i dealing with injuries to property. 

Armed with the warrant, the police raided the W.S.P.U. office in 
the evening when members of the general public would not be about, 
but when officials and staff were still to be found at work They 



displayed the warrant, made the arrest, but of the Pethick Lawrences 
only. I was not there and knew nothing of what was happening. In 
the new flat which I had lately taken, I was writing an editorial for 
Votes for Women^ headed ‘The Challenge’. 

A knock at the door! I opened it. One of our members^ entered. 
She had come from Clement’s Inn and gave me the news. Would I 
sign the cheque which Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence had already signed, 
enabling the transfer of W.S.P.U. funds before they could be attached 
by any order of the Court.^ Would I give her the article I had been 
writing, for the printer.^ Was the arresting over, I asked, or should I 
be in time if I went to Clement’s Inn, to be arrested there? No, she 
said, the police would have left with their prisoners. I decided to wait 
where I was. 

In the challenge of the moment a flash of light came to me and 
showed me the position to be more dangerous than I had foreseen. 
Theoretically, the prolonged isolation of the leaders would be counter- 
acted by the devotion of our membership. But in practice fatal dangers 
would arise, especially as the same coup could and would be repeated 
over and over again. We had a resolute foe to contend with. The 
Government’s purpose was to hold the shepherds captive, while they 
did their utmost to scatter and suppress the flock. They were resolved 
to stamp out the movement. I foresaw, as the result of this, or some 
future move, the shepherds sentenced to years of imprisonment and 
quietly kept out of action or else, if by the hunger-strike they resisted 
imprisonment, reduced to illness and inability for effectual leadership. 
If others replacing us gave as strong a lead, they would be dealt with 
in the same way. I foresaw an even greater danger — the infiltration 
of our movement by new elements prompted by our opponents, who 
would put peace, or party politics, or both, before justice and votes 
for women. Stirred by these forebodings, I said to my visitor, almost 
as one would write and sign a last will and testament: It must be 
shown by militancy, and still greater militancy, that the arrest of 
leaders has not checked the movement and its methods, but has had 
the opposite effect.’ She departed. 

I was alone facing a great problem, a crisis for the movement. 
Those who had shared the responsibility were prisoners. What best 

^ This member was Miss Evelyn Sharp the novelist, whom I had sent to warn 
Christabel and who had also undertaken to edit Votes for VTomen during the detention of 
my wife and myself. — ^Ed. 

1912 — women’s war 203 

use could I make of the few remaining minutes of freedom to 
guard against the evident dangers? At any moment the police would 

I barricaded the locked door. I would make a fight anyhow. A 
bell rang from the outer door. The building was locked by this time 
and the housekeeper, who lived next to my top-floor flat, went slowly 
downstairs to open, I waited. Ascending feet were heard. A knock! 

‘Who’s there?’ I said. A woman’s voice: ‘Mrs. .’ One of our 

members! I opened. ‘A note from Jessie Kenney,’ she said. Jessie, too, 
had sent me warning of what had happened. My chance had come. I 
would get away for the night, if I could, and gain time to think what 
could be done before going to trial and prison. ‘Have you a cab at the 
door?’ I asked. ‘Yes.’ ‘Then take me with you.’ We tiptoed downstairs 
to the door. Were the police there? Not one to be seen. We drove 
away. My companion lived in Whitehall Court. ‘I mustn’t take you 
there,’ she said, ‘you will be recognized.’ ‘Drive me to Victoria 
Station!’ I said. I entered the station, lingered a little, went out again, 
hailed a cab and drove to the nursing home at Pembridge Villas, kept 
by Miss Townend and Miss Pine, remembering that they had jestingly 
said one day when their new lift had been placed in a recess in the 
hall: ‘We could hide you here.’ It was late by then. A night nurse 
admitted me. I told my two friends that I needed a night’s security 
to reflect and plan. ‘You can’t stay here because there is an operation 
due at midnight; you might be seen,’ said they. An inspiration came 
to them. They dressed me as a nurse! So dressed I went with one of 
them to the home of friends of hers, sympathizers, who lived in a flat 
not far away. They welcomed me. I had found a haven. Not long after 
I left the nursing home, where my too-well-known hat had just 
been reduced to ashes in the drawing-room fire, the police arrived 
to search for me! They made further search that night, but not yet 
desperately, for they doubtless thought that I meant to vary the 
programme by making some dramatic entry on the scene of 

I did not sleep at all that night for thinking. Suddenly, in the small 
hours, I saw what I must do! Escape! The Government should not 
defeat us. They should not break our movement. It must be preserved 
and the policy kept alive until the vote was won. My law studies had 
not been in vain. They had impressed indelibly upon my mind the 
fact that a political oftender is not liable to extradition. Long before, 



when actually a prisoner in Holloway, that thought had come to me, 
in my prison cell, as a matter of purely academic interest. ‘Of course 
if one ever did wish to avoid imprisonment, one could escape to a 
foreign country and as a political offender be able to stay there.’ Not 
an academic matter now, but one of vital, practical, political concern! 
I must get to Paris, control the movement from there — and from there 
keep the fight going, until we won! I could hardly wait for the 
morning! As soon as I could venture to rouse my kind hostesses I 

told them my purpose. Would they see Miss and ask if she could 

arrange for me to drive in her car to the boat instead of travelling by 
train.^ One of them went to inquire. It was impossible, she learned, 
for reasons of possible recognition, but she returned with money for 
my needs. This was helpful indeed, for approach to my own bank 
might be imprudent. I must risk taking the train, and risk it was, for 
a Suffragette speaker was known by sight to thousands, and the 
morning newspapers gave the news that I was ‘wanted by the police’. 
One of these friends said she would go with me to Paris. I borrowed 
a black coat and a black cloche hat. My face was sufficiently disguised 
by an unaccustomed pallor. We drove to Victoria Station. The boat 
train was crowded, for the coal strike had reduced the service, I bought 
fashion papers, as providing a non-political screen, and sat quietly in 
a comer. The train started. Safety so far! Opposite me sat a lady 
writing letter after letter, but not too busy, it seemed, to look at me 
intently every now and again. The train reached Folkestone town 
and stopped. The lady opposite crossed the compartment, put her 
head out of the window and called: ‘Policeman!’ My heart stood still. 
She gave him her letters to post! The train moved on to the boat 
station. I went aboard. ‘Don’t come any further with me,’ I said to 
my kind companion, ‘Take this letter back with you and see that 
Annie Kenney gets it.’ She left me. The boat started . . . arrived ! My 
foot touched the soil of France. We were saved. We would win. 

London was all astir. The broken windows drew thousands of 
sightseers. One Cabinet Minister, at least, made some inspection of 
the wreckage, for Lord Riddell reports: ‘Lloyd George and I went to 
look at the Prime Minister’s windows, which had been broken the 
night before. We both thought it a strange sight.’ Strange indeed! 
Most strange that in a free country, under a Liberal Government, 

1912 — women’s war aoj 

women should be driven to such action by the neglect of all their 
peaceful pleading for justice. Most natural from another point of view, 
for what was good enough for Wellington’s windows in 1832 was 
good enough for Mr. Asquith’s windows in 1912. 

A meeting of West End tradesmen was convened to protest 
against the window-breaking, but a great number of influential 
women wrote to the Chairman and Committee to say: ‘The demand 
for the Vote is the root of the trouble! Why should not the Govern- 
ment do at once what they will be compelled to do in the end, after 
great expenditure of time and money.^ Should you not urge them 
to redress the grievance which lies at the root of the discontent.^’ 
The signatories of this stateswomanly letter included Viscountess 
Acheson, the Hon. Mrs. Guy Baring, Lady Betty Balfour, Viscountess 
Cowdray, Lady de Clifford, Viscountess Dupplin, Mrs. Stanley 
Mappin, Miss Eva Moore, Miss Lillah McCarthy, Mrs. Ronald McNeill, 
Lady Maud Parry, Lady Isabel Stewart, Lady Willoughby de Broke, 
and Viscountess Wolmer. 

The shops calmed down wonderfully in the end, and even con- 
tinued to advertise in our paper. Indeed, Mrs. Marshall, who was our 
honorary canvasser for advertisements, would have it that those 
whose windows were not broken were a little piqued at being so 
neglected ! When, later on, the insurance companies fastened financial 
responsibility upon Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, one famous firm 
in Regent Street advertised in our paper that they had not wished this 
course to be taken but were helpless to prevent it as the insurance 
people had the matter in hand. 

The Conspiracy Trial was a very serious question. The police 
had made a vast haul of papers at Clement’s Inn and took some time 
to sift them. Lengthy proceedings in the Police Court followed. The 
prosecution alleged ‘one continuous conspiracy’ and ‘one continuous 
incitement’ to damage property. Worse could have been said about 
Sir Edward Carson, for he was conspiring and inciting to attack, not 
only on property, but on life. True, the attacks he had in view were 
conditional upon a future Ulster grievance. But our ‘conspiracy and 
incitement’ were also conditional upon the continued non-removal of 
a present women’s grievance. This ‘highly developed and extensive 
organization’, our W.S.P.U., was anatomized by the prosecution in a 
nianner that was at times imintentionally comic, as when the magis- 
trate was informed that ‘public men in the service are tabulated here 



under code names’. One Cabinet Minister was coded as ‘Thistle’, an- 
other as ‘Roses’, and so forth. There should be a reason for this. 
Telegrams must go out, and the meeting at which ‘the particular tree 
or plant would be present would be interrupted, and the speaker 
harassed by members of the Union’. 

There followed the reading of numerous extracts from the speeches 
and letters of Mother and the rest of us, all very much to the point 
and most educational as to the motive of our militancy. Witnesses 
were called and in cross-examination it was drawn from them that our 
arguments for militancy had been based upon the demand for the 
vote, upon Cabinet Ministers’ breaking faith, and the incitement 
uttered by some of them to emulate the greater violence of men in 
their struggle for enfranchisement. During the long proceedings in 
the Police Court, which lasted about three weeks, all the accused 
were kept in prison. Mother and Mrs. Tuke being ordinary prisoners 
under sentence, and Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence being refused 

All this time I was writing the editorials in Votes for Women and 
not forgetting to quote the words of Gladstone, Joseph Chamberlain, 
and others in support of militant means of winning the vote, or the 
words of Mr. Hobhouse in regard to Nottingham Castle which were, 
I maintained, ‘the most calculated and wicked incitement to violence 
that any responsible public man, and more especially a Minister of the 
Crown, has ever uttered’. 

At last after their committal for trial for conspiracy, Mr. and Mrs. 
Pethick-Lawrence were released on bail, and the Home Secretary 
agreed that Mother’s sentence on the smaller count should be remitted. 
Mrs. Tuke was acquitted and was in time to receive an ovation at the 
Albert Hall meeting which we had arranged to rally the forces and 
to prove, as it royally did, that the Government’s latest blow had 

The already ‘torpedoed’ Conciliation Bill came spectrally before 
the House of Commons about this time. The Government’s destruc- 
tive tactics had done their work and the second reading was defeated, 
though only by a very small majority. This showed how easily private 
members’ pledges were broken at the behest of their leaders. One 
Liberal Minister boasted that he turned his coat and voted against the 
Conciliation Bill as a m^k of his admiration for and support of 
Mr. Asquith! We should have taken the incident more to heart had 

1912 — women’s war 207 

we not known that the Government would again have wrecked the 
Bill, even if it had passed its second reading. The House of Commons 
knew that, too, and this knowledge largely accounted for the result of 
the second reading division. 

Meantime, Ulster’s threats of militancy rose higher. Mr. Bonar 
Law approved them. ‘Though the brunt of the battle will be yours,’ 
he said, ‘you will not be wanting help from across the Channel.’ ‘If 
the Government treat us with fraud, we will reply with force,’ said 
Sir Edward Carson. Those were our sentiments too. The Government 
had treated us with fraud and we had replied with a little force, whereas 
Sir Edward Carson and his friends were preparing to meet fraud by 
a great deal of force. 

Mr. Walter Long declared that ‘Civil war may be necessary. It 
may be forced on the people in order to protect the rights and liberties 
of themselves and their successors.’ ‘If the Government,’ he con- 
tinued, ‘were going to put Lord Londonderry and Sir Edward Carson 
in the dock, they will have to find one big enough to hold the whole 
Unionist Party.’ Lord Selbome did not think that men of our race 
were willing to ‘part with their liberty without fighting for it, with 
rifles in their hands if need be’. The Suffragettes, after years of provo- 
cation and political injustice, were fighting for liberty, not with rifles, 
but with mere stones, and they were aiming not at human beings but 
only at window-panes. 

The big trial at the Central Criminal Court was approaching, and 
a farewell reception for Mother and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence was 
arranged. Mother’s final words to the members were these: 

‘While we are in prison, you, I know, will stand by the cause. 
You will be loyal to it and loyal to us. Do not listen, when it comes 
to political action, to anyone outside, even to friends of the movement, 
however sincere, but only to those whom you have chosen as your 
leaders. There will be people who will tell you that it will be easier 
for us if you make concessions. If there is one thing that could break 
our hearts, it would be the thought that your affection for us should 
be used to weaken your determination to go on with our movement. 
We face this trial with good heart, because whatever the result, it will 
be a step forward.’ 

The trial was deferred longer than Mother thought, because her 
great efforts in peaceful propaganda, her prison experience, the strain 
of the long Police Court proceedings, the critical position of our 



movement had been too much for her health, and application had to be 
made for a postponement of the trial. 

This is, therefore, a good opportunity to describe what followed 
my escape to Paris. Installed incognito in. a small hotel ne& the Arc 
de Triomphe, I awaited the first messenger from London. The English 
newspapers on sale in Paris told me that a great police search for me 
was in progress, a search that continued for a long time and was not 
without its amusing features. The British Isles were ransacked. ‘Where 
is ChristabeP’ was the constant question. The Home Secretary, when 
asked ih Parliament why the police did not find and arrest me, attri- 
buted this failure to the ‘fanatical loyalty’ of the Suffragettes. The 
great Government conspiracy against the Suffragettes was in fact 
‘torpedoed’ by the escape of one of the ‘conspirators’. Yet I was not 
elated. I knew too well the gravity of the position. Mother and her 
three co-defendants would probably, I thought, receive a relatively 
short sentence after all, in view of the failure of the Government’s 
coup. But I knew also that a new phase of the struggle had definitely 
opened, and that next time the Government would leave nothing to 
chance. I knew, too, that so long as Mother and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence 
were in the hands of the Government there would be a hard fight for 
me to wage, by long-distance control, with that Government of astute 
politicians and skilful lawyers — ^a real battle of wits and will, a woman’s 
wit and will against theirs. 

Longing for news, I walked for miles about Paris, thinking over 
the position and laying plans of action. 

At last Annie came, having travelled by circuitous route in careful 
disguise. As once Goschen was forgotten, so the Government in 
making their coup had forgotten Annie. A few years earlier they 
would not have forgotten her, for she was then in London, and much 
in the eye of the public. But latterly, by the greatest good fortune as 
it now turned out, she had been organizing in the West of England 
and even our London members, many of whom had joined during her 
absence from the centre, did not realize, or had forgotten, how vital 
a figure Annie Kenney had been. I knew from experience that Annie 
was the person to hold the fort at headquarters. She had no personal 
ties that would impose upon her a divided duty. Moreover, she had 
earned by her own record and service as a militant pioneer the honour 
of being first in command at Clement’s Inn. I had written her a letter 
which installed her in that post of responsibility, honour, and danger. 

Miss Wallace Dunlop George Lansbury, 1912 

‘Charlie’ (Charlotte) Marsh Lady Constance Lytton 

Helen Craggs — ^now Lady Pethick-Lawrence 
Mrs. Mansel 

{Below") Emily Wilding Davison 
Tessie Kenney as a messenger boy 

ipii — women’s war 209 

in case attempt to escape should fill. No committee could have 
coped with the situation we had to face, and besides, the selection of 
a committee wouW have been invidious. My first fellow prisoner was 
the only possible choice. As it happened, my attempt to escape had 
not failed, and my bwn control of the movement could be sustained. 
Yet to make this long-distance control effectual, I still needed her as 
my chief agent in London. 

She arrived, then, full of news from the scene of action. All she 
told me proved the value of my escape and verified that first flash of 
insight. I; 

We then and there planned the whole system of control from 
Paris, which worked so effectually from that day until the outbreak 
of the world war. True, things were not the same as before the Govern- 
ment^'raid and arrest of leaders. The time of flags, bands, mild sym- 
bolic militancy, short prison sentences, gala days of welcome, more 
or less carefree ‘at homes’, was ended. The Government had resolved 
to crush the movement, to end not only window-breaking, but also 
deputations to the Prime Minister and other Ministers, and ‘inter- 
rupted speeches and spoilt perorations’! Repression had been the 
Government’s policy for the first six years, and now their policy was 
repression intensified, combined with a new and subtle attempt to 
confuse and confound, divide and disintegrate, the movement. 

It was my business, as it is the business of a strategist in every 
form of conflict, to read the enemy’s mind, and I was fortunately able 
to read the mind and discern the purpose of the Government in general 
and in particular of Mr. Lloyd George, who had evidently assumed a 
major part in carrying it out. 

Mother had called attention to the more subtle aspect of the 
Government’s new plan of campaign. She saw that while I was in 
command in Paris, only an uncompromising unity between the 
members and myself could bring the good ship W.S.P.U. and its 
precious cargo safely home. 

It was not easy and not altogether wise to explain openly that a 
new chapter had opened. Trust in the leadership that had started the 
militant movement had roused the women, stirred the men, and made 
the world ring; this trust was not only a matter of duty; it was sheer 
common sense. Mother had a right, as she faced prison, perhaps for 
years, to say to the women of her movement; ‘Trust Christabel and 
listen only to her, and those she has put in command under her at 




Clement’s Inn/ Mother had also a right later, in 1914, when she set 
aside, for the duration of the war, the militancy which she and I had 
initiated, to claim confidence that we were thereby doing what was 
best for women, as well for the country. Mother and I had pledged 
and promised that we would get women their vote and we did. 


1912 — Continued 

The State Trial — The Reform Bill — Militancy in Dublin- 
Penal Servitude — Parting with the Pethick-- Lawrences 

N ow came the State trial, as it was called by counsel for the 
defence. Strangely enough, the judge was Lord Coleridge, 
son of the man who years before, when Mother was a small 
child, had, with my father, pleaded women’s right, as ‘persons’, to 
vote under the Franchise Act of 1867. 

Sir Rufus Isaacs (later Lord Reading), the Attorney-General, 
personally conducted the prosecution. The accused had, he said, ‘become 
annoyed with Mr. Asquith because he would not make Woman Suffrage 
what was called a Government measure’. The Government had, instead, 
announced the introduction of a Manhood Suffrage Bill. Sir Rufus 
Ijsaacs did not explain that the Government had broken their pledge 
to women in connection with this Manhood Suffrage Bill. From that 
time, he continued, the defendants had worked to carry out a cam- 
paign which would have meant ‘nothing less than anarchy’. Women 
were to be induced to act together at a given time in a given place in 
such numbers that the Government would, ‘to use the defendant’s own 
words, be “brought to its knees” ’. He referred to the ‘inflammatory 
speeches’ made by the present defendants, and by her who was 
absent, neglecting, of course, to mention the inflammatory speeches 
made by himself and his Liberal colleagues on the subject of force 
majeure as the only means whereby the voteless have obtained the 

Addressing the jury, Sir Rufus said: ‘You will notice that there 
are four persons charged and there are only three persons in the dock. 
Miss Christabel Pankhurst, also charged in this indictment, has not 
surrendered, but although she is not present on her trial before you, 
she is a very prominent person in this conspiracy and about her you 
will have to hear much. Let me say at the outset that whatever your 




individual views may be upon the political issue, which I am afraid 
will be referred to many times, I am anxious to impress upon you, 
from the moment we begin to deal with the facts of the case, that all 
questions as to whether a woman is entitled to the Parliamentary 
franchise are in no way involved in the trial.’ The ‘ringleaders’, so he 
politely called us, were then accused of conspiracy. ‘Every person is 
free — quite free,’ he assured the jury, ‘to express any opinion, publicly 
by writing, by word of mouth, at meetings’ and so on. But he omitted 
to explain that the Government to which he belonged, far from re- 
sponding to these peaceable and law-abiding expressions of woman’s 
will to vote, studiously, indeed scornfully, ignored them and so left 
open no other way of winning the vote but that taken by men in 
days gone by. 

Tongue in cheek, surely. Sir Rufus Isaacs went on to outline the 
militant words and deeds of the W.S.P.U., so mild, as he well knew 
them to be, in comparison with the incitement provided by his own 
and other Ministerial utterances and in comparison with men’s own 
deeds. The secret codes dilated upon in the Police Court were again 
brought forward. It may be said here that these were never used. They 
had been merely suggested by an ingenious member. However, the 
prosecution made great play with ‘Fox=are you prepared for arrest’, 
‘Goose=don’t get arrested’, and ‘Duck=don’t get arrested unless 
success depends upon it’. This was all fairy-tale. 

A letter from Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence was then read. She had 
written: ‘We have come to a very grave crisis. The Government now 
propose to exploit our long national struggle for political freedom in 
order to give more votes to men. Hundreds of women have volun- 
teered for such action as may be necessary as a protest.’ And again 
from one of Mrs. Lawrence’s speeches: ‘We have only to be militant 
enough, and twenty-four hours will see us victorious.’ He quoted 
Mother’s words: ‘Since we cannot win our freedom by women’s ways, 
then we must nerve ourselves to do what men did and I am going to 
throw my stone with the rest.’ 

Innumerable extracts from our speeches he read, really indicting 
and convicting the Liberal Government, and himself as a member of 
it. Nothing could have been better for the cause than this long chain 
of evidence. No word, no act chained against us even approached in 
gravity the words of challenge addressed to us by Mr. Hobhouse and 
the acts held up to us as an example of what would effectually express 



a demand for the vote. In the cross-examination of witnesses the 
defendants elicited many interesting admissions and caused whole 
speeches and articles to be read in full. What a pity there was no 
broadcasting in those days! That trial, had it been generally heard, 
would have impressed the whole country and roused the public to 
still greater sympathy with the Suffragettes. 

Mr. Tim Healy, k.c., who defended Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, scored 
a great point when in the cross-examination of one witness he read 
‘the days are past for rioting and we do not need to have recourse to 
bloodshed or violence to carry out our schemes of progress and re- 
form, because we have a fairly good franchise which is an assurance 

that the will of the ’ ‘What are you quoting.^’ interrupted the 

prosecution. ‘Wait and seel’ replied Mr. Healy, and continued: ‘that 
the will of the people must prevail. Formerly, when the great mass of 
the people were voteless they had to do something violent to show 
what they felt; today, the elector’s bullet is his ballot.’ This evident 
incitement to Suffragette violence was spoken, Mr. Healy explained, 
by Sir Rufus Isaacs himself! The whole prosecution reeked, indeed, 
with inconsistency, insincerity and injustice, and long as the trial 
lasted, it did not last long enough to bring out all the incitement to 
militancy provided by Liberal leaders, Mr. Gladstone and John Bright 
in the past, and the Asquiths, Hobhouses, Isaacs, Greys and Lloyd 
Georges of 1905 to 1912. 

The speeches for the defence were a masterly moral arraignment 
of the Government and vindication of the accused. ‘I am not part of 
this organization, being a man,’ said Mr. Pethick-Lawrence, ‘but I 
intended and I still intend to stand by the women who are fighting in 
this agitation and using methods which I know have succeeded in 
history. The breaking of windows is repugnant to me, but the women 
who have taken this course have been driven by the logic of facts to 
do what they did, and I for one am not going to condemn their action. 
Long before any stone-throwing occurred, women were arrested while 
going on a peaceful deputation to the House of Commons.’ Knowing 
what methods had succeeded in history, he was not going to say that 
the women’s methods were a mistake. 

Mrs. Pankhurst said that the word conspiracy was a word suggest- 
ing to the non-legal mind something of secrecy, shame, and intrigue. 
But the jury knew from the evidence that the defendants in this case 
were far from being conspirators in that sense of the word. Militant 



their organization was called, but mainly, she had been proud to think, 
because we had chosen as our motto ‘Deeds not Words’. She showed 
how denial of justice and acts of coercion of increasing stringency had 
been the Government’s invariable reply at every stage since the 
militant movement began; showed, in fact, that militant was a word 
applying more truly to the Government’s action than to ours. The 
conspiracy, if any, was the Government’s conspiracy to imprison the 
leaders and in their absence break down our organization. As for in- 
citement, if the defendants in this case were guilty thereof, then mem- 
bers of His Majesty’s Government should be in the dock also. ‘But I 
do not ask you to say that you will not convict us until they are by 
our side, though I do suggest that members of His Majesty’s Govern- 
ment and Opposition have used language at least as inflammatory as 

A political duel, not a trial, was this, declared Mr. Tim Healy. 
The law had been vindicated, property had been protected, he in- 
sisted, by sentences of two, four, and six months’ imprisonment meted 
out to those who had actually broken the window-panes, and were 
even then in gaol. ‘The Attorney-General has been despatched here 
for the odious task of trying to prevent any further inconvenience to 
the sacred persons of the present Government,’ he said. ‘Gentlemen 
of the jury, in the past, when mild and reckless speeches were de- 
livered against the officers of the majesty of the Government, the 
prisoners were arraigned for sedition. We have not been arraigned for 
sedition; we have been pinioned as conspirators. What is the chief 
ingredient in our conspiracy.^ We must confess that since the present 
Government took office, no single Cabinet Minister has been allowed 
to address a public meeting without being inconvenienced with an 
inquiry as to why women should not have a vote. That is our offence.’ 
It is no doubt a very useful thing, remarked Mr. Healy, when you 
have political opponents, to be able to set the law in motion against 
them. He doubted not that the Government would find it most con- 
venient to shut up the whole of His Majesty’s Opposition — all the 
Carsons, F. E. Smiths, Bonar Laws, and so on. 

‘Gentlemen of the jury,’ he went on, ‘whatever words have been 
spoken by mutual opponents, whatever instructions have been ad- 
dressed, not to feeble females, but to men who boast of drilling and 
of arms, they have not prosecuted anybody except women, by means 
of an indictment. Yet the Government of my learned friend ask you 

1 ^ 12 — CONTINUED 

to pass judgment upon the prisoners at the Bar, and to say that with- 
out rhyme or reason, and without provocation, these responsible, 
well-bred, educated university people have suddenly, in the words of 
the indictment, wickedly and with malice aforethought engaged in 
these criminal designs. 

‘Do you think,’ asked Mr. Healy, ‘that these ladies whose lives 
have been ransacked, whose papers have been examined by detectives, 
upon whose whole career the limelight of fierce inquiry has been 
turned, who have borne pain and prison with cheerfulness and equan- 
imity, will give way now.^ Is it likely that conviction by you will end 
this movement, or that it will destroy the sense of wrong which bums 
in their hearts.^ I wish that all my learned friend’s colleagues could 
examine their conscience — ^as they have applied the searchlight to the 
case of the defendants — and say that their political actions have been as 
unselfish and self-sacrificing. I question if the incense of history will 
be as fragrant in the nostrils when their names are mentioned, as when 
the names of Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst, and Mrs. 
Pethick-Lawrence are brought up in future times.’ 

A moral acquittal was the result of the trial, for the jury, though 
giving a verdict of guilty, said; ‘We unanimously desire to express the 
hope that taking into consideration the undoubtedly pure motives 
that underlie the agitation that has led to this trouble you will be 
pleased to exercise the utmost clemency and leniency in dealing with 
the case.’ 

Clemency and lenience were not to be seen in the sentence of 
nine months’ imprisonment in the second division imposed by the 

A demand for first division treatment arose on every hand and 
among the precedents for this was cited the transference to the first 
division of the Jameson raiders. Protesting against the fact of imprison- 
ment at all, we again argued that Ulstermen, by drilling in breach of 
the Unlawful Drilling Act, were rendering themselves liable to seven 
years’ penal servitude, which the Government carefully refrained from 
meting out to them. 

It was not that we were concerned to question or assert the moral 
justification of Ulster’s militancy, actual or prospective, but we did 
claim the same immunity from prosecution and imprisonment for 



militant women whose grievance was at least equal and whose 
militancy was far milder. 

I was now in solitary command of the W.S.P.U. and its move- 
ment. For the moment the prison position of the leaders and of the 
large number of other prisoners was the dominant issue. Yet at the 
same time the fight must continue, and the political situation must be 
watched. Through our paper, Votes for Women, I could keep the 
trumpet soimding and messengers and letters passing to and fro 
between Paris and London enabled continuous control. The search 
for me continued, with all its humour for us and its exasperation for 
the foe. One of our members gave them a tantalizing experience. She, 
dressed in a coat and hat belonging to me, entered my flat and locked 
the door. A telephone message reached the police: ‘There is someone 
in Miss Pankhurst’s flat.’ They thundered on the door and, as it did 
not open, walked along a narrow ledge giving access to one of the 
windows. The curtains were drawn, but the window was slightly 
open. Flinging it wide they entered. ‘The game’s up. Miss Pank- 
hurst!’ Dismay; it was not she! After that and many another false 
clue had been followed to extreme futility, the search was apparently 
given up as hopeless. 

A magnificent Albert Hall meeting was held which proved, by its 
size and enthusiasm, that the Government’s blow had utterly failed 
to break the movement. Mrs. Tuke was the chairman, and with 
Miss Elizabeth Robins, Mrs. Mansell-Moullin, Annie Kenney and 
Mr. Tim Healy, k.c., m.p., as the speakers, the meeting was a triumph. 
Before that the Government, after a first refusal, had transferred the 
imprisoned leaders to the first division, partly owing to their threat 
to hunger-strike and partly owing to the storm of outside protest.^ 
Eighty-one women were still in prison, some for terms of six months, 
and first division treatment was at once claimed for them also, a claim 
supported by many M.P.s and other public men. The Government’s 
denial of their claim moved Mother and Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence 
to resort to a sympathetic hunger-strike. The Government retaliated 
by forcible feeding. 

This was actually carried out in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Pethick- 
Lawrence. The doctors and wardresses came to Mother’s cell armed 
with forcible-feeding apparatus. Forewarned by the cries of Mrs. 
Pethick-Lawrence who, in the next cell, had been taken unawares, 

^ A member of the jury had expressed the views of himself and his fellow jurymen 
on the subject. — Ed. 



Mother received them with all her majestic indignation. They fell back 
and left her. Neither then nor at any time in her long and dreadful con- 
flict with the Government was she forcibly fed. The Government 
could not induce any of their officers or agents to do it, and dared not, 
it may be, again order it to be done. 

At the end of five days' hunger-strike. Mother was released. 
Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence were released later after a period of 
forcible feeding. So ended the great conspiracy trial and the Govern- 
ment’s raid upon the militant movement. 

I knew well, however, that the Government had recoiled for an- 
other attack. I saw clearly that next time they would profit by this 
first experience of failure to seize us all. I accordingly determined, with 
a determination as iron-strong as theirs, that I would never return to 
England until the vote was won. 

This was not a ‘Joan of Arc’ role that I had chosen, and any 
laurels that might belong to the pioneer prisoner would certainly 
wither from my brow. But I could not depend on any of the others 
to stay abroad through thick and thin. Least of all could I depend 
upon Mother to do it! I knew her ardent spirit too well. I knew that 
if I were to return to England and she were to stay in Paris, and if I 
were to find myself in prison, as I certainly should. Mother would 
soon be back in London and we should meet in Holloway, both 
prisoners, and both disabled for command. Whatever my limitations, 
I knew that in two respects I was well equipped — in the capacity to 
control affairs from a distance and in the capacity to read the mind of 
particular Cabinet Ministers and of the Government in general. 

For the moment, however, everything in outward appearance was 
clear on the war front. ‘Why does not Christabel come back.^’ was being 
asked by one and another. ‘There is no reason for her to stay away any 
longer. When is she coming?’ But she was not coming back at all. In 
her hard-headed way she had resolved to stay exactly where she was! 

Mother now came to Paris, It was just the change she needed. 
We could talk over everything and rejoice in our triumph over the 
Government’s latest onslaught. Mother could relax; she revived her 
schoolday memories, explored Paris, looked at the shops. It was a 
happy interlude for both of us, in which, for a brief moment, we could 
prepare for the hard fight yet to come. The other ‘conspirators’ came 
to see us and, of course, Annie Kenney and Mrs. Tuke. As the stimmer 
advanced, I moved to Boulogne-sur-Mer. This meant an easier journey 



for those who came to see me from London. It was not until Septem- 
ber, on my return to Paris, that we announced that I was abroad. 

Of course, the work went on day in, day out, and for me it was 
never a case of being off duty. But I could, at the same time, maintain 
behind the line a haven of rest for those who came from London, and 
I think it helped them to visit that Paris haven during the awful, 
though necessary, struggle that lasted from March 1912 to the outbreak 
of the war. 

This letter, written from Paris to a W.S.P.U. member by Mrs. 
Tuke, preserves something of those Paris days: 

. . . How astounded the world at large would be if it could see Mrs. 
Pankhurst here in Paris, with those who are closest to her and know her 
as she really is! For a breathing space she is content to relinquish the 
warrior role and to be what is quite as truly her real self, simply an 
ordinary member of society — taking a natural and vivid interest in purely 
feminine and purely human concerns. . . . Yesterday we were shopping 
at one of the big stores — a sale was in progress and the usual crowd of 
women were busy competing with one another in a battle of sharp wits 
and sharper elbows. Mrs. Pankhurst was delighted to find a bargain and 
promptly secured it — her enjoyment of the fray was quite infectious and 
she was thoroughly proud of the success which crowned her own share 
in it. . . . We have delicious hours of real fun when the dominant note is 
laughter and simple gaiety, when the fleeting joy is kissed and the last 
vestige of enjoyment extracted from the most trifling incident. These 
carefree interludes, sandwiched as she can snatch them between others 
of the most serious import, are as meat and drink to her and as vitally 
necessary — one sometimes fears that without them her steps might 
falter under the tremendous burden of responsibility she carries with so 
gallant a spirit. But she shares her beautiful and abiding simplicity of 
character with the truly great ones of all time; few realize this and that 
is why even friendly criticism of her is never just but always one-sided 
and inadequate. 

The fact that I was continuously on guard rendered possible the 
announcement made after the release of the imprisoned leaders that 
they would be spending the remainder of the summer in rest, re- 
cuperation, and travel, and resume their efforts in October with a great 
meeting at the Albert Hall. Another announcement of interest was the 
transfer of our London headquarters to Lincoln’s Inn House, in 
Kingsway. This large and imposing building was, unlike Clement’s 



Inn, in our sole occupation and wholly given up to the work of the 
’W.S.P.U* This was a costly and ambitious venture, but it was advan- 
tageous in many practical ways to have such a stronghold. Further, it 
was a manifestation of our continuing and increasing power. 

The Government’s Reform Bill had now come before Parliament. 
It was the most reactionary measure that had disgraced any Govern- 
ment in the past hundred years, for, ignoring the somewhat better 
precedent which, thanks to John Stuart Mill, had been created by the 
use of the term ‘persons’ in the Reform Act of 1867, the Liberal 
Government’s Reform Bill of 1912 purported to confer the franchise 
upon ‘male persons’. 

This introduction of the word ‘male’ into a twentieth-century 
franchise measure will show the post-war generation of young women 
what was the battle the Suffragettes had to fight! That the Cabinet 
majority of professed supporters of woman suffrage should have con- 
sented to the use of the word ‘male’ in a Franchise Bill is a sufficient 
proof of our political wisdom in opposing and criticizing those 
Ministers as we did 1 Apart from the insult of this wording, its practical 
effect was to interpose a double barrier between women and the vote. 
First, there was required an amendment to delete the word ‘male’ and 
leave the word ‘persons’ alone standing. And then, as women were 
not, according to judge-made law, ‘persons’ for purposes of the 
franchise, a second amendment must be carried, expressly conferring 
upon them the right to vote on terms which would be the subject of still 
further controversy and disputation. The use of the word ‘male’ was, 
in fact, a direct breach of the Government’s pledge, for it meant that 
the Bill, as introduced, was not freely open to amendment, as they had 
promised, but had to be made open by the deletion of this word ‘male’. 

Less than ever could we regret the acts of protest for which we had 
been indicted in the ‘conspiracy trial’! 

The flagrant inconsistency of the Government’s coercion of the 
Suffragettes and their leniency towards Ulster militants was now 
publicly adverted to by Sir Edward Carson. ‘One class of prisoner,’ he 
said, ‘were sent to prison for inciting to violence and another class 
were forgiven when they had given exactly the wme kind of incite- 
ment. That was due to the existence of a craven Government beneath 

After what happened in the House of Commons in the pronoimce- 
ment of the policy of the Government in relation to Ulster, he 



intended, when he went over there, to break every law that was pos- 
sible. He was not a bit afraid of them, for a more wretched, miserable, 
time-serving lot never before sat in Parliament. 

This was fat more inflammatory than anything we had ever said 
or had been alleged to say in the Conspiracy Trial. ‘How soon,’ we 
wondered openly, ‘will the Government issue a warrant for Sir 
Edward Carson's arrest!’ The Government were showing no mercy 
to their women opponents in prison. Forcible feeding was still in 
progress. In one week several of our prisoners had to be released 
because of the illness to which hunger-strike, followed by forcible 
feeding, had reduced them. In the House of Commons protests 
were made by men of all parties against this veritable torture of 

Cabinet Ministers were being brought to book by Suffragettes at 
every opportunity. The Prime Minister was accosted at a reception 
by an indignant and uninvited guest. ‘We must have a Government 
Measure for Votes for Women. You will have no peace until we do. 
You have insulted and betrayed women and you must take the con- 
sequences.’ Grasping the lapels of his coat with either hand the 
Suffragette gave him a good shaking. She was overpowered and 
ejected by men, apparently detectives, but she was able as she went 
to call out another protest on behalf of the women being forcibly fed. 
Some of the guests sympathized warmly with her. ‘It must take great 
courage to do this.’ One of them sent her home in his motor-car. The 
Prime Minister had other Suffragette encounters before the evening 
was over. Mr. Lloyd George counselled him, so Lord Riddell reports 
in his diary, to attend no more receptions ! 

Mr. Lloyd George hirpself, with Sir John Simon, had a Suffragist 
encounter when he spoke at Woodford. Women were barred out, but 
men were there to heckle these Liberal leaders. One of the hecklers 
had to be rescued by ambulance men and others required medical care. 
Even men could not safely mention votes for women in a Cabinet 
Minister’s meeting. 

The Home Secretary, when he accompanied the King and Queen 
to Wales, was challenged in their very presence. The Royal party 
were in a narrow path leading to Llandaff Cathedral when a young 
Suffragette challenged him as to his treatment of women and their 
cause. Later when Mr. Hobhouse and Mr. Birrell were awaiting the 
Royal train at Bristol, they were challenged by a Suffragette. 

1 ^ 12 — CONTINUED 


All the women imprisoned for stone-throwing were now free 
again after their cruel experience under forcible feeding. 

The second reading of the Government’s Reform Bill took place 
early in July, leaving the woman suffrage issue still untouched. We 
at once called attention to the ‘remarkable silence’ during the second 
reading debate of the Cabinet Ministers who professed to support 
votes for women. Those who spoke at all, Mr. John Bums, Mr. 
Montagu and Sir John Simon, said nothing at all about votes for 
women, except that Mr. Montagu most unhelpfully remarked that it 
seemed to him ‘a mischievous thing that you should wait for all other 
franchise reforms until you get a Government agreed on woman 
suffrage’. Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Lloyd George said never a word! 
This was their promised support! 

The Conservative leaders in the second reading debate said their 
say. Mr. Balfour asked whether it was ‘every individual or only every 
male individual who would have equal rights under this Bill.^’ Mr. 
Bonar Law’s speech was remarkable for his reference to militancy. 
‘The Prime Minister points to us,’ he said, ‘and says if ever our party 
deals with the Franchise they will deal with it in the same way! Please 
Heaven! No — I do not say with the Pharisees that we are better than 
other men, but I am sure that we would not do it now, and I am 
equally sure that six years ago the Prime Minister would not have 
done it either.’ He added that he was prepared to vote for a modified 
extension to the suffrage of women, but was opposed to adding ‘some- 
thing like 10,000,000 women to the Register’. 

Mr. Asquith, who unlike our ‘friends in the Cabinet’ was far from 
silent on the theme of ‘Votes for Women’, made a threatening state- 
ment, fatal in advance to the Women’s Amendment and utterly con- 
trary to the letter and spirit of his ‘pledge’. ‘This Bill,’ he said, ‘does 
not propose to confer the Franchise upon women, and whatever 
extensions of the Franchise it makes are to male persons only. Speak- 
ing for myself I cannot help remembering that the House at an earlier 
stage of the Session rejected, with what I think sufficient decisiveness, 
the proposal to confer the Franchise upon women, and so far as I am 
concerned I dismiss at the moment as altogether improbable the 
hypothesis that the House of Commons is likely to stultify itself by 
reversing, in the same Session, the considered judgment at which it 
had arrived.’ 

Could political wrongfulness go further! Mr. Lloyd George had 



declared that the torpedoing of the Conciliation Bill had cleared the 
way for the passing of the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the Re- 
form Bill and now the same torpedoing of the Conciliation Bill was 
used by the Prime Minister as an obstruction and a destruction of any 
Women’s Amendment. 

After this blow, what was left but militancy! Petitions, fresh 
processions, meetings, were a waste of time and energy. Indeed they 
were hardly self-respecting. No peaceful evidence would have affected 
the Government’s attitude. 

The Prime Minister’s speech on the second reading of the Reform 
Bill in which he wrecked, in anticipation, any Woman Suffrage 
Amendment, combined with the significant silence of Sir Edward 
Grey and Mr. Lloyd George on the same occasion and the inflamma- 
tory utterances of Mr. Hobhouse and others, was, of course, the 
immediate and direct cause of the Dublin affair and the stronger 
militancy of which that was an early example. 

The Prime Minister, having torpedoed his own pledge to women, 
went to Dublin to advocate Home Rule. This was his first important 
engagement after his act of political destruction. A group of Suffra- 
gettes set out to make a protest in such a manner as might be possible 
in view of the extraordinary difficulties to be overcome. Strict pre- 
cautions would exclude them from Mr. Asquith’s meeting, yet they 
went on their mission. What they would do and how they would do 
it they knew not. Still less did we! But Mother and I were determined 
to stand by them. If they failed to make any protest it would not be 
for want of will and effort. They would respect life and hurt no one 
imless it were themselves, we knew. It was a rule we had laid down 
that none of our women had broken, and none of them ever did. We 
can, long after the battle is fought and won, proudly call our move- 
ment ‘the Women’s Bloodless Revolution’. 

Mr. Asquith’s Dublin meeting was strictly closed against women. 
The London Times reported it as ‘probably the first public meeting 
addressed by a Minister during the year, into which the Militant 
Suffragists failed to penetrate’. However, the necessary question was 
asked by men. To suppress it completely, Cabinet Ministers would 
have had to speak to empty halls. Indignant at the exclusion of women 
from the Prime Minister’s meeting, a woman militant had entered the 



theatre where it was to be held, during an ordinary performance, and, 
waiting until the audience had filed out and left the theatre empty, 
set light to some curtains as a protest. The blaze was quickly extin- 
guished. The Prime Minister was driving through Dublin with 
Mr. John Redmond when Mrs. Leigh rushed forward and dropped 
a small hatchet into the carriage. Mr. Redmond replied to a solicitous 
Irish M.P. who telegraphed inquiry: ‘No serious hurt, except to the 
woman, who was nearly killed, and was arrested.’ 

Undeniably, militancy took a graver turn at Dublin, but Mr. 
Asquith himself had incurred that by his speech against the woman’s 

At the laying of a foundation stone the Home Secretary had an 
adventure. He had laid the stone when suddenly a woman took and 
shook him by the arm, saying: ‘We women protest against your in- 
human treatment of women, in prison for a great cause, and against 
this disgraceful Manhood Suffrage Bill.’ The Irish Times London 
correspondent was ‘afraid there was more amusement than sorrow at 
Westminster when the news came that the Home Secretary had been 
shaken by a militant lady . . . many members on his own side could 
not resist a smile at the thought of the lady handling his stiff and sturdy 
figure as if it belonged to a naughty schoolboy’. 

A magniloquent manifesto against Suffragette militancy was now 
written, signed, and sent to the Press by Lord Haldane and Sir Edward 
Grey, and some other men not in the Government. Certain non- 
militant suffrage leaders also appended their signatures. The manifesto 
pretended that the Government’s ‘pledge’ still promised an ‘oppor- 
tunity’ of getting ‘some measure at least of enfranchisement for 
women by insertion of amendments into the Manhood Suffrage Bill’ 
and that there was, in the ‘judgment’ of the signatories, ‘one thing 
that can now imperil our position and that is the renewal of militancy’. 

Alas! The Prime Minister’s declaration that the passage of an un- 
official amendment for Woman Suffrage was ‘altogether impossible’ 
had sounded the death knell of the opportunity promised by Sir 
Edward Grey and Lord Haldane. 

Reports now appeared that the families of Cabinet Ministers were 
being guarded against the Suffragettes. This was needless, for the 
Suffragettes did not make war upon children. As for Cabinet Ministers’ 
wives, we never dreamt of holding any of them responsible for the 
political misdeeds of their husbands! The Suffragettes did not want to 



hurt a hair on the head even of a Cabinet Minister. A good shaking 
was the most they had to fear. 

Another of our bravest women died at this time: Ellen Pitfield, 
who had borne her part nobly, had met the consequences on Black 
Friday and had endured imprisonment and forcible feeding. ‘There are 
only two things that matter to me in this world,’ she had said, ‘principle 
and liberty.’ 

Five years’ penal servitude! I was at Boulogne when the news 
reached me of the first long sentence of imprisonment for the vote. 
The Dublin trial had ended in this sentence for Mary Leigh and 
Gladys Evans. The Government I knew had long had in mind the 
use of such a penalty and now it had come. It was not unexpected, 
and yet it was a shock. We were in the last phase of the struggle, and 
it would be a hard and bitter phase, because the Government could 
not be induced to yield without a desperate effort. The ‘opportunity’ 
they had promised was a sham. If it had been sincerely offered, the 
Dublin protest would never have been made and the long sentence 
would never have been imposed. It was the hardest moment I had 
known since militancy began, for this was the full reality of the 
situation, not merely anticipated, but expressed in stern fact. 

Again, as on that first day in Paris, I walked fast and far, summing 
up my forces for the new conflict. After that walk I wrote for our 
paper: ‘These sentences of five years’ penal servitude usher in the final 
stage of the struggle for votes for women. By meting out punishment 
of such appalling severity, the Government have created a situation 
which they themselves know cannot last. Even they realize that 
women cannot be sent for five years to convict prisons as the alterna- 
tive to giving them the vote. They have gone to the extreme limit of 
coercion in the hope that it would put an end to the militant agitation 
and thus avert the necessity of giving votes to women. Their offer, 
made through the judge, that if militancy is abandoned the sentences 
shall be remitted, is proof of our contention. The Government have 
speculated upon the fear of the militants, but the militants have no fear, 
and therefore, instead of ending militancy, the Government find them- 
selves driven to choose between votes or penal servitude for women. 

The Government chose, and persisted in the choice of penal 



If the women’s opportunity in connection with the Reform Bill 
had been, to quote Sir Edward Grey, a 'real opportunity’ and ‘not a 
bogus offer’, the Government would now have caused the committee 
stage of the Reform Bill to be taken and the women’s amendments 
voted upon. They did no such thing. The Reform Bill had been 
placed on the shelf and long remained there — and the two women 
were sent to prison for five years. 

Then the Cabinet Ministers who had goaded and incited the 
women to their action went holiday-making! 

Meanwhile the men leaders, who were planning Ulster militancy, 
were going forward with their plans quite freely, although the Liberal 
Press were urging the Government to launch a prosecution. The 
Manchester Gttardian maintained that Mr. Bonar Law’s policy was 
precisely on the same footing as the action taken by the two Suffra- 
gettes, that Sir Edward Carson and his Ulster friends had ‘got up a 
movement’ for organizing or threatening crimes, and that to attempt 
to obtain one’s ends by threats of criminal acts was as definitely 
criminal as the acts themselves. 

A petition, largely signed, was presented to the Lord Lieutenant, 
Lord Aberdeen, for the reduction of the five years’ sentences, but 
without avail. The prisoners in penal servitude resorted to the hunger- 
strike. In five days Mrs. Baines was released because of illness, the 
doctors having declared forcible feeding dangerous especially in her 
case. Mrs. Leigh and Gladys Evans were being forcibly fed. 

Away in Canada, Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence were recuper- 
ating. In their absence bailiffs were put in possession of their house 
under a Treasury Order for the payment of the costs of the prosecution 
in the Conspiracy case, which the judge had decreed must be paid by 
them, and Mother. As the Government had already deprived Mother 
of her home, as the alternative to surrendering her part in the 
movement, they could have recourse for payment to the Pethick 
Lawrences alone and they did not hesitate to do so. 

Disturbing news of the condition of our prisoners in Mountjoy 
Prison in Ireland moved us to redoubled efforts for their release. A 
great protest meeting in Phoenix Park and a deputation to the Lord 
Lieutenant were arranged. Sir Victor Horsley and Professor Halli- 
burton went to Dublin to speak with all their great medical authority 
against forcible feeding. The Prime Minister, playing on a Scottish 
golf course, was plainly told by a Suffragette: ‘You ought to be 



ashamed to be here, taking your holiday, while women are being 
forcibly fed in prison.* Mr. Asquith afterwards proceeded to Balmoral 
and there on the golf course were planted notices: ‘Cabinet Ministers! 
Stop Forcible Feeding’, and ‘Votes for Women will mean Peace for 
Cabinet Ministers’. 

The alarming rumours of Mrs. Leigh’s condition culminated in her 
release, after a terrible ordeal. Meantime there had been in connection 
with the Home Rule question riots by men and the brandishing of 
firearms in Ireland, but no one was arrested, no one sent to penal 
servitude, no one forcibly fed! 

The W.S.P.U. at this crisis turned to Mr. Lloyd George for a new 
declaration on the whole matter. He was to speak at a great gathering. 
The women were there to ask him: ‘Is it peace.^’ 

It was war. The women’s experience at that meeting roused 
sympathetic protest on their behalf. It was the most powerful and 
conclusive evidence that women had nothing to hope from the 
Government’s proffered ‘opportunity’. That meeting was emphati- 
cally another turning-point in the history of militancy. It convinced 
our women anew that the original mild militancy had become a far 
more dangerous alternative than militancy which affected inanimate 
property. Women were driven by Cabinet Ministers, the real authors 
of Suffragette militancy, to rely upon stronger action. Symbolic 
militancy, as it might be called, was ended — ^not by us, but really by 
the Government. By seasons of truce we had staved off the present 
phase as long as possible, but the Government had precipitated and 
made inevitable the onward march. 

On the return from Canada of Mr. and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, 
there was a consultation in France where I was now definitely estab- 
lished. The outcome of this and a further meeting was the serious 
announcement that they and we had parted company owing to a 
difference of opinion as to the policy to be pursued in future by the 
Women’s Social and Political Union. Ownership and control of the 
paper Votes for Women they retained but their connection with the 
W.S.P.U. organization ceased. This separation on a matter of policy 
was a cause of deep regret to all concerned. 

The second meeting between Mother, Mr. and Mrs. Pethick- 
Lawrence, Mrs. Tuke, Annie Kenney and myself took place in 



London. I did not feel it right that Mother should not have me with 
her on that very serious occasion. So I decided to make a brief and, 
of course, secret visit to London. It was misty when I arrived, and I 
walked under cover of the mist to the same quiet abode which had 
sheltered me on the night before my first escape. A rumour started 
that I had left Paris. There were posters all over London: ‘Is Christabel 
here.^’ Many false alarms and delusive clues of the past had made the 
police sceptical, so they apparently did not take this real clue seriously 
and I got away again by a more circuitous route! It was fortunate, for 
otherwise they could have made that comprehensive capture of the 
leaders which was their aim. 

Mrs. Pankhurst appeared alone on the Albert Hall platform, with- 
out the hitherto invariable presence by her side of Mrs. Pethick-Law- 
rence. To her and to the assembled thousands of women this was 
a grief — ^as it was an evidence of the gravity of the hour and of the 
sternness of the fight to come. These women knew that Mother had 
not lightly parted from her who for the past six years had shared the 
immense moral and material responsibility of the movement. For- 
merly, Mother and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence and I had triply held the 
fort at these great meetings. Now Mother held it alone. I was in exile, 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, alas, with us no more! Pale, sorrowful, for 
all her brave determination, she knew what ruthless force she was 
defying for the sake of women, because the alternative to advance 
was, in her judgment, surrender. She knew how solitary she would be 
without Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, who, with her personal powers and 
her husband’s support, and the strength that wealth gives, had been 
such a tower of strength. Not lightheartedly did Mother go forward 
alone. Two of her chief officers were by her side. There was Annie 
Kenney, sorrowful too, but following Mother, as she had followed 
her in those already far-away pioneer days, Annie a first prisoner, 
Annie: who had gone to London with £2 to plant the W.S.P.U. 
standard. Sorrowful also was Mrs. Tuke, the honorary secretary, 
advancing in the path of militancy regretfully but with utter con- 
viction of necessity. The exile, too, was there in thought and by 

‘Whenever I stand on this platform,’ said Mother, ‘it seems to me 
that I am reviewing our forces rather than speaking to a political 
meeting. In any army you need unity of purpose — ^you also need 
unity of policy. In the Women’s Social and Political Union, from its 



initiation until quite recently, we have had complete unity of purpose 
and complete unity of policy. When unity of policy is no longer there 
a movement is weakened, and so it is better that those who cannot see 
eye to eye as to policy should part, free to continue their policy in 
their own way, uninfluenced by those with whom they can no longer 
agree. I give place to none in my appreciation and gratitude to Mr. 
and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence (loud applause) for the incalculable ser- 
vices they have rendered to the militant agitation for woman suffrage, 
initiated by my daughter Christabel and myself and a handful of 
women more than six years ago.' 

The resolution of the evening pledged those present to ‘continue 
the militant agitation and to oppose the Government and their Parlia- 
mentary allies until the introduction of a measure for women’s 

Property meant much to the Government, said Mother, and it was 
through property that the Suffragettes would reach the Government. 
She wanted citizens who owned property to go to the Government 
and say: ‘Examine the cause that leads to the destruction of property. 
Remove the discontent; then women will return to what they formerly 
were, the most law-abiding half of the community.’ 

‘I incite this meeting to rebellion!’ went on Mother. ‘And my last 
word is for the Government. You have not dared to take the leaders 
of the Ulster rebellion for their incitement. Take me, if you will. But 
I tell you this: that so long as those who incite to armed rebellion and 
the destruction of human life are at liberty, you shall not keep me in 
prison. Women in this meeting, although the vote is not yet won, we 
who are militant are free. Remember only the freedom of the spirit 
and join this magnificent rebellion of the women of the twentieth 

A timely word was said by Annie Kenney. ‘Some are asking 
whether we shall have another deputation that will again mean the 
imprisonment of hundreds of women. We would rather, now, that 
they should skirmish about the country, at liberty, creating a situa- 
tion intolerable for the Government who understand no better argu- 
ment for giving women the vote.’ Dealing with the possible conse- 
quence to herself of these words, she said: ‘We must not fear a con- 
spiracy trial or anything else that the Government may do against us. 

Mother had again chosen the harder part in 1912, as she had chosen 
it in 1905, when militancy began. In 1905 she chose, for the sake of 



womanhood, the ruin and ostracism and all the suffering implicit for 
her in her eldest daughter’s act, which was also her own act and but 
the first link in a chain of future acts. In 1912, dedicating herself anew. 
Mother chose, if it should so happen, a convict’s grave. Her choice 
was not lightly made. She was only human. Self-interest, considera- 
tion for her own health, for her own welfare then and later, would 
have prompted the abandonment of militancy. She had won a 
supreme ‘nuisance value’ and what might she not have gained for 
herself by abandoning militancy! 

Mother and I could have ended militancy as easily as we began it! 
When we declared the Conciliation Bill Truce, there was a truce. 
When we declared the end of the truce and the renewal of militancy, 
militancy was renewed. When, on the outbreak of war in 1914, Mother 
and I declared an armistice with the Government and the cessation of 
militancy for the duration of the war, militancy ceased! 

I can picture Mother on the Albert Hall platform that night, 
slender and fragile, rather tired, yet erect, head lifted, her eyes, large 
under their high-arched brows, looking upon the vast audience and 
through and beyond that place and hour — to what was coming upon 

No alternative! That was her reason. No way but militancy, to 
induce a Government, founded on votes, to do justice to the voteless. 
One other way indeed there might be if all the Parliamentary sup- 
porters of our cause had made their support of the Government pro- 
gramme conditional upon the granting of votes for women. But 
willing Members of Parliament were not in sufficient numbers to do 
this. The Conservatives had their own quarrels with the Government 
and were not in any case strong enough to defeat them. Nationalist 
and Labour M.P.S had reasons of their own for wanting to defer a 
General Election. 

Mother, therefore, declared her hard, her heartrending, choice. 

Our sterner militancy, employed in the final two years before the 
war, can be summed up as a response to the open challenge and in- 
citement to strong militant measures delivered to us by Cabinet 
Ministers and their expressed contempt of militancy in its first mild 
phase; as a consequence of the feebleness of pledged supporters of our 
cause in Parliament, and as a faint imitation — except that we respected 
human life — of the itilitant policy chosen, as we know, successfully, 
by Ulster and endorsed by the Conservative Party. 



Many persons were assuring us that the Government’s ‘pledge’ 
offered a real chance of getting the vote by an unofficial amendment 
to their Manhood Suffrage Bill. But, as we pointed out, members of 
tile Government had already, by their influence upon rank-and-file 
M.P.S, destroyed every chance of carrying an unofficial amendment. 
Mrs. Fawcett herself, regarded as being less suspicious than we were 
of the Government’s pledges, had said: ‘It is not a straight fight. No 
stone will be left unturned by Mr. Asquith to defeat an amendment. . . .’ 

A young Suffragette was now put on trial on the charge of being 
found one night possessed with the wherewithal to break into the 
house of a member of the Government, Mr. Lewis Harcourt, with 
intent to enter and set fire to it. ‘This young lady of good education,’ 
as the prosecution truly described her, was defended by counsel who 
urged that ‘she had taken great interest in a cause and had adopted 
methods in furtherance of that cause, from the highest and purest 
motives which could animate any human being’. A member of the 
Cabinet, Mr. Hobhouse, had, as counsel for the defence reminded the 
Court, actually hurled at the women a challenge, saying he did not 
believe that there was a serious demand for the vote because they had 
not burned down a castle as men had done when they demanded the 
vote. The women had seen their peaceful methods ignored. In Ireland, 
Sir Edward Carson, one of the leaders of the legal profession, had 
been preaching and justifying violence and armed resistance to law by 
voteless men, and had challenged the Government to prosecute him, 
saying that he realized what he was doing and the meaning of it. They 
did not prosecute him and they did not prosecute the cattle-drivers 
and those guilty of agrarian outrages in Ireland. These were the acts 
of men who had votes ! Women militants had not votes and they were 
prosecuted. The Government were responsible for the crisis arising 
from the militancy of the women. The jury, in finding Miss Helen 
Craggs^ guilty, asked that she might be treated as a political offender. 
‘I hold that militant Suffragettes stand in a position analogous to that 
of soldiers,’ the prisoner said, ‘and because I fight in a cause as good 
as any for which men have fought, I say, my Lord, that I am morally 
guiltless.’ The judge rejected this plea and sentenced her to hard labour. 
The letter found upon the prisoner when arrested contained these 
words: ‘When Cabinet Ministers tell us that violence is the only 
argument they understand, it becomes our duty to give them that 
^ Later to become Mrs. McCombie and in 1957 Lady Pethick-Lawrence. — Ed. 


argument.’ After a hunger-strike and forcible feeding, Miss Craggs 
was released lest, as the Home Secretary expressed it, ‘dangerous 
consequences might ensue*. Later the Government showed more in- 
difference than this to the risk of dangerous consequences to their 
suffrage prisoners. 

Indignation at the treatment of the women’s cause prompted one 
Labour M.P., Mr. George Lansbury, to resign his seat in Parliament. 
In the by-election that followed he had to contend with the oppo- 
sition of all who knew that his re-election would be a mandate to 
deal with the woman suffrage question, and the lukewarmness of 
those not prepared to go as far as he did in supporting the cause, and 
he was not returned. 

The present Poet Laureate, John Masefield, publicly championed 
the militant women. ‘I blush for what our grandchildren will say of 
the men of my generation,’ he said. ‘ “Were they sane in their day.^’’ 
they will ask. “They cried out upon those who burned Joan of Arc. 
Yet when they had Joan of Arc among them they lacked the living 
eyes to see her. They thrust her into prison with the rest, as an unsexed, 
shrieking sister.” ’ 

A great if unwilling tribute was paid by a magistrate at the trial 
of one of our militants, Gladys Evans. ‘It is difficult,’ he said, ‘to carry 
out the law strictly in the case of people who are absolutely reckless 
of consequences, and for whom punishment has no terrors and penal 
servitude no shame.’ 


1912 - 1913 

Broken Pledges — Guerilla Warfare 

T hreatening rumours ran that the Prime Minister, despite the 
assurance he had given to women, would resign if the Votes for 
Women Amendment to the Reform Bill were carried. He gave 
no contradiction to these rumours, and the belief therefore spread that 
the Government would ‘break up’ if the Women’s Amendment were 
carried. Already, therefore, M.P.s were being prompted to choose 
between breaking their Suffrage pledges and breaking up the 

The fresh political betrayal that was so obviously preparing was 
rousing women to more militant action. Pillar-box protests were 
many. Charred paper was put through the letter slit in some cases 
to give an impression of militancy, that counted as much as the real 

We were again forewarning all Suffragists that the Government 
would bring about the defeat of every Votes for Women Amendment 
just as they had brought about the blocking and torpedoing of the 
Conciliation Bill. An essential difference between the non-militants 
and ourselves was this: their way was to take Government ‘pledges’ 
more or less seriously when offered and to be indignant after they 
were broken. We, especially since the Government’s conduct in 
Coronation Year, declined any acceptance of Government pledges 
which we knew in advance would, as they did, turn out to be 

The year closed amid rumours of a Government split and collapse 
if the House of Commons should add Woman Suffrage to the Reform 
Bill. The Prime Minister, while thinking votes for women ‘disastrous’, 
might nevertheless ‘bow his head to the House of Rimmon’, said the 
famous Parliamentary commentator of those days, ‘Toby, M.P.’,^ but 
* Sir Henry Lucy. 


1912-1913 233 

‘others of the Prime Minister’s colleagues in the Government are not 
likely to display an equal measure of judicious flexibility’. 

By such hmts and warnings were the pledge-bound supporters of 
the women’s cause moved to break faith and to assist the Government 
by voting against the amendments. ‘Who will rid us of this trouble- 
some cause.^’ was in effect the Liberal leaders’ plea to their followers 
and allies. We saw the response to it. All M.P.s who thought they had 
anything to gain by keeping the Liberal Government in power were 
tempted to oppose any and every Woman Suffrage Bill or amendment, 
lest the Government fall to pieces. A General Election would have 
resulted then and M.P.s were not anxious to hasten this. Further, all 
who had some favourite measure which they expected the Govern- 
ment to carry were tempted to sacrifice woman suffrage in order to 
keep the Government in office until this measure should be passed. 
The Irish Nationalist M.P.s, upon whose support the Government’s 
existence depended, were prompted to break their Woman Suffrage 
pledges by this fear of wrecking the Government pledged to carry 
Home Rule. 

Mr. T. P. O’Connor has described how the argument was spread 
among Irish M.P.s that they would best serve the cause of Home Rule 
by defeating woman suffrage, since they would thus rescue the Prime 
Minister from the disagreeable necessity of fulfilling his pledge to the 
women, and preserve the Government from breaking up before Home 
Rule was passed. 

One Liberal M.P. actually wrote to the newspapers begging others 
to co-operate with him in defeating woman suffrage in order to spare 
the Prime Minister the humiliation of doing for that cause what he 
had pledged himself and his Government to do. 

All this proved the political wisdom of maintaining a distinctively 
women’s movement in complete independence of ali political parties. 

The New Year dawned in cloud for the Suffn^e cause. The 
Government seemed bent on breaking their pledge, poor as that 
pledge was, and keeping women still voteless. Mr. Asquith’s resigna- 
tion, Mr. Harcourt’s resignation, Mr. Winston Churchill’s resignation 
were being much rumoured, as the consequence of adding Woman 
Suffrage to the forthcoming Franchise Bill. But no rumours were 
heard of the resignations of Sir Edward Grey and Mr. Lloyd George 


if woman suffrage were not carried! Our ‘supporters’ in the Cabinet 
were more pliable than our opponents! 

A working women’s deputation, led by Mrs. Drummond and 
Annie Kenney, was to see Mr. Lloyd George at the Treasury. In the 
name of the working women he had torpedoed the Conciliation Bill. 
Now what assurance had he to offer that he would get working 
women included in the Government’s Franchise Bill.^ 

Mr. Asquith declined to receive the deputation, as he had ‘nothing 
to add to the statement which he had made in November 1911’, and 
Mrs. Drummond did not urge her request further, as she did not wish 
to provide the Government or any of our critics with the argument, 
false though it would have been, that by insistence upon seeing 
Mr. Asquith and the consequent imprisonment of the deputation, the 
Suffragettes had been responsible for the non-inclusion of women in 
the Franchise Bill. Large numbers of working women from the North 
and the Midlands, as well as from London, were anxious to join the 
deputation, but Mr. Lloyd George had stipulated for a small deputa- 
tion and they, with our members in general, were to assemble at a 
special W.S.P.U. conference, to hear the report of the deputation and 
to watch developments in Parliament. 

Suffragettes have since read with surprise that the Home Secretary 
and Mr. Lloyd George himself thought that the deputation might ‘do 
something violent’, and that a large table was accordingly protectively 
put in position between the women and Mr. Lloyd George, who 
afterwards answered Lord Riddell’s question: ‘How did you get on 
with the Suffragettes at the deputation, and were you nervous.^’ by 
saying: ‘Not badly — no, danger is a curious thing. It braces me up.’ 
It did not so much as enter the head of the ‘General’ and Annie and 
the others to harm a hair of the Minister’s head. He had agreed to 
receive the deputation, and words, not blows, were all the Suffragettes 
had ready for him. 

The deputation included a teacher, a boot and shoe operative, 
a laundress, a pit^brow worker, a tailoress, a hospital nurse, a fisher- 
woman, a cotton operative, a weaver of woollen goods. 

‘The Prime Minister promised,’ Annie Kenney said to Mr. Lloyd 
George, ‘that the Government would remain neutral towards the 
Woman Suffrage Amendments, but now some Cabinet Ministers are 
threatening to resign if a Woman Suffrage Amendment is carried. Are 
you and Sir Edward Grey ready to resign if it is not carried!'’ 

1912-1913 235 

‘You are a man of power,’ said Mrs. Drummond. The Old Age 
Pensions Act and the Insurance Act show what you can do when you 
stick to it, and what you have done with regard to these measures you 
can do for woman suffrage. We have come for those millions of votes 
you talked about. They must be ours this Session, according to the 
hope you have held out. We will give you the help of women in 
carrying it through, we will work throughout the country and stand 
with you on the same platform to support the Bill. We don’t want 
to be your enemies. You very kindly made arrangements to see us 
today and we want to come and see you again after the amendments 
are carried.’ ‘You have kept your promise to the minute, Mrs. 
Drummond,’ said Mr. Lloyd George, ‘and I thank you very much.’ 

Sir Edward Grey then came in and Mr. Lloyd George explained 
that the Government intended the Reform Bill to go through all its 
stages that Session. The Government’s honour and honesty were 
vitally involved in Mr. Lloyd George’s next words. ‘Will the Bill be 
drafted in such form as to make it possible for Woman Suffrage 
Amendments to be introduced?’ he was asked, and replied: ‘We 
have got beyond that. We have got out a time-table which enables 
the four Woman Suffrage Amendments to be discussed and voted 
upon. There will be moved today by the Prime Minister a guillotine 
resolution which specifically mentions the four Woman SuflErage 
Amendments and enables the House of Commons to vote upon each 
and all of them. 

‘Furthermore, and this is very important,’ added Mr. Lloyd George, 
‘the Prime Minister was asked by Mrs. Fawcett: “Will the Govern- 
ment regard any amendment enfranchising women, if carried, as an 
integral part of the Bill and defend it in all its stages?’’ The Prime 
Minister said: “You shall certainly have the opportunity to introduce 
into the Reform Bill qualifications for the suffrage of women if a 
majority of the House of Commons is prepared to assent to it.” ’ 

Mr. Lloyd George denied that any of his colleagues in the Cabinet had 
threatened to resign, but said: ‘I am not complaining diat Miss Kenney 
has brought it to our attention, because I know there have been rumours 
of the kind.’ He thanked the deputation for the very clear way in 
which they had put their case and hoped their speeches would be 
widely circulated. Sir Edward Grey countersigned Mr. Lloyd George s 
assurances and the dcjnitation withdrew. 

That very same day in the House of Commons the Government’s 



‘pledge’ was exploded like a poison-gas bomb in the face of voteless 
women! The Speaker, in answer to a question by Mr. Bonar Law, 
stated that a Woman Suffrage Amendment would effect so great a 
change in the Government’s Reform Bill that it would be necessary 
to withdraw the Bill and introduce another. No precedent existed for 
this ruling by the Speaker. Precedent was indeed against it, because 
when a Woman Suffrage Amendment was moved to the Reform Bills 
of 1867 and 1884, the Speaker did not rule that its adoption would 
necessitate the withdrawal of these measures. Lord Randolph Churchill 
had in 1884 objected that the Woman Suffrage Amendment was outside 
the scope of the Reform Bill of that year, but the Speaker and the 
Chairman of Committee agreed that his objection must be overruled. 

Another fact that should have ‘torpedoed’ the Speaker’s hostile 
ruling in 1913 was that women had obtained the municipal franchise 
by an amendment to a Government Bill moved by a private member, 
Mr. Jacob Bright. 

Mr. Bonar Law had done good service in raising the point while 
there was still time to adjust matters. The only honest course for the 
Government to take when the Speaker gave his ruling was to say: 
‘We will withdraw this Bill and immediately introduce another one, 
named and drafted in conformity with our pledge to the women.’ 
Instead they withdrew their Bill and would not introduce another 
drafted in conformity with their pledge. It has been said that the 
Speaker’s ruling was unexpected by the Government, but that was no 
reason for making it, as they said, a way of escape from their own 
pledged word. 

Mr. Asquith made the next move by asking the Speaker to pro- 
nounce more definitely as to whether any and every Woman Suffrage 
Amendment proposed would bring the present Bill ‘within, not the 
TuUy but the practice as regards withdrawal.^’ We were to be victims not 
even of a rule, but of a praaice — one which conveniently served the 
purpose of our opponents! ‘I have formed the opinion,’ said the 
Speaker, ‘that the admission of any one of these amendments would 
so alter the Bill as practically to convert it into a new Bill. In these 
circumstances, I shall advise the House that the Bill be withdrawn and 
that a motion should be made to ask leave to introduce a new Bill.’ 

The Speaker’s advice was cast aside by the Government. A new 
Bill was not introduced. The pledge to women was broken. The 
vaunted offer was after all vain and void. 

1912-1913 237 

A new pledge was offered — but for ‘next year’. This new pledge 
would switch us back to a Private Member’s Bill, without the Govern- 
ment support which had been promised for woman suffrage after its 
incorporation in the Government’s own Franchise Bill. Sir Edward 
Grey, Mr. Lloyd George, and the rest of the Cabinet majority pledged 
to woman suffrage, could have insisted — but did not — on the intro- 
duction of the new Franchise Bill suggested by the Speaker. The 
Government’s pledge to women would thus have been so far fulfilled. 
On the other hand, a Liberal newspaper mentioned ‘repeated rumours’ 
that the Prime Minister and other anti-Suffragists in the Cabinet ‘con- 
template resignation if the sex barrier at elections be removed’. Yet 
the Prime Minister and his anti-Suffragist colleagues had for nearly 
two years been bound by a Government pledge to carry woman 
suffrage into law, if adopted by the House of Commons. 

The Speaker’s ruling seems to have been viewed by the Govern- 
ment as a convenient escape. When Lord Riddell asked whether it 
was not a ‘Godsend to the Government in view of the Suffrage 
differences’ among Ministers, Mr. Lloyd George, laughing, replied: 
‘You have hit the right nail on the head.’ 

Suffragists were unanimous in repudiating the new pledge. The 
non-militants, with Mrs. Fawcett at the head, were ‘furiously indig- 
nant, and utterly rejected Mr. Asquith’s derisory offer’. Mr. Asquith, 
they said, had ‘completely misled’ them and the crisis was to them 
‘imexpected’ as well as acute. Like ourselves, they now demanded a 
Government measure, and this demand, which we had made as early 
as 1905 — eight years previously — became the united demand of the 
whole woman suffrage movement. 

We militants were calmer in feeling than the non-militants, be- 
cause we had always expected to be, as the non-militants expressed it, 
‘defrauded of the promised opportunity’. Furthermore, we had the 
resource of action I 

The great betrayal left Mrs. Pankhurst calm, yet firm and pre- 
pared. ‘The farce of the Reform Bill “opportunity” is at an end and 
in its stead we are offered another insult to our intelligence,’ she said. 
‘Many women have told us that they intend to be militant at the 
proper time. I intend to be militant too. We have gone through 
various stages in this movement; we have allowed ourselves to be 
battered by the police, as they carried out the Government’s orders, 
and by hooligans whom the Government are quite willing should 



have the vote. Now, if we wish to succeed, we must take to guerilla 
warfare. We have to fight by our woman’s wit. One thing we regard 
as sacred and that is human life. When people ask us why we touch 
the property of people not responsible, we reply: “They are responsible 
unless they help to put a stop to this injustice to women.” ’ 

General Flora Drummond stood for a public interview with 
Mr. Lloyd George in strict fulfilment of the promise he had made to 
her. She led her deputation to the House of Commons to claim the 
interview. After a struggle, in which she was hurt, fainted and fell to 
the ground, she was arrested and next day fined and charged js. 6d. 
for medical attention given to her at the police station. On refusing 
to pay, she was sent to prison for two weeks. Mrs. Despard and other 
members of the Women’s Freedom League made a protest and were 
likewise imprisoned. 

Out of prison again. General Drummond wrote once more to 
Mr. Lloyd George, requesting a public interview because ‘the question 
we have to discuss is of serious and national importance and the public 
have therefore a right to know what we say to you and what you say 
to us’. The General believed in ‘open covenants, openly arrived at’! 
‘Secret diplomacy’ was, however, the choice of Mr. Lloyd George. 

On behalf of the working women’s deputation, she reminded 
Mr. Lloyd George that he had promised to see the deputation again, 
after the women’s amendments had been discussed. ‘The amendments 
have been torpedoed, not discussed,’ said the General, ‘but there is 
just as much and even more reason why we should see you again. The 
position is most serious. We want to discuss with you the statement 
made in the House of Commons and other matters affecting the cause.’ 

Mr. Lloyd George agreed that he had promised to see representa- 
tives of the Suffragists, but did not consider any useful purpose would 
be served by again seeing a large deputation and would be happy to 
see Mrs. Drummond, and perhaps one or two other representatives, 
for a ‘private discussion’. ‘A private interview,’ the General wrote, ‘is 
obviously no fulfilment of a promise to receive us in a public 

Meantime, guerilla militancy was proceeding. Many militants had 
been restive for some time, considering that it would be more dignified 
to anticipate the sorry outcome of the Government’s now broken 

1912-1913 239 

pledge than await it passively. As leaders, we had felt bound to re- 
strain this eagerness but now there was no reason for delay. Nor were 
the women willing to return to the former ways of militancy, which 
led them in droves to prison and left Cabinet Ministers sneering at 
methods so relatively untroublesome to themselves, though so great 
a trial to the women. 

Mrs. Fawcett’s declared objection to a plan of voluntary starvation 
by non-militants — that it would inconvenience only the women and 
their families, without in the least inconveniencing the Government — 
was applying to mild militancy, such as deputations to the House of 
Commons, followed by imprisonment and hunger-strike. Remain, if 
you can, free to fight another day and another, and another! Face 
imprisonment if it should come with courage, but do not run into it! 
This was now W.S.P.U. policy. 

One woman, however, could not avoid arrest — Mother! Already, 
Members of Parliament were asking the Government whether they 
intended to arrest Mrs. Pankhurst for the many acts of other 

Mother knew that the Government would let Mr. Bonaw Law 
and Sir Edward Carson prepare bloodshed in Ulster, without lifting 
a finger against them, because they were men and leaders of men 
voters, but on a far less serious count would arrest and imprison her 
because she was a woman and a leader of voteless women. 

Years of imprisonment, with or without hunger-strike — ^that was 
Mother’s fate and she knew it! 

Heroine! That is the name for her and I say it, though I am her 
daughter. How small we all look in comparison, except the other 
women who took upon themselves the sterner deeds and also faced 
long years of imprisonment. 

The Prime Minister ventured to the Kinnaird Hall in Dundee. 
‘Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,’ thrilled the organ. Sang the audience; 
‘Wha wad be a traitor knave.^ Wha sae base to be a slave.^’ 

The freedom of the city was then presented to Mr. Asquith. 
‘Ladies and gentlemen ' he began. ‘And Suffragettes! Don’t for- 

get them,’ came as an intimation of their presence and their claim. 
Suffrage protests punctuated all Mr. Asquith’s speech, several times 
silenced him, and were the sensation of the evening. A Dundw news- 
paper reported ‘the long fruitless search’ made by the police, with 
many assistants, to discover hidden Suffragette hecklers and said that 



no doubt the ingenious young ladies were ‘enjoying their beauty 
sleep’ while the searchers were ‘condemned to prowl about in cellars 
and on roofs’. 

The protesters in the meeting were as usual ejected by force, but 
they had said their say and justly rebuked the Premier. 

The ingenuity and the pertinacity of the Suffragette guerillists 
were extraordinary. Never a soul was hurt, but the struggle con- 
tinued. Golf greens suffered on one occasion by the carving on the 
turf of ‘Votes Before Sport’ and ‘No Votes, No Golf’! The editor of 
Golfing complained on the plea that ‘golfers are not usually very keen 
politicians’. ‘Perhaps they will be now,’ said the Suffragettes. 

The damage to property was more spectacular than serious. An 
orchid house at Kew, a kiosk in Regent’s Park, were typical objects of 
militancy. Museums began to be closed, here and there, with preven- 
tive caution, to the vexation of American visitors. Mr. Lloyd George’s 
house at Walton Heath paid the price of its owner’s deed. It was un- 
inhabited and, indeed, not yet completely built. 

Mother was thereupon arrested. Especially sensitive to any act 
that directly affected themselves, the Government indiscreetly made 
the first casualty to property owned by one of their members the 
occasion for arresting her. 

She was taken to Scotland Yard and thence to Leatherhead. Next 
morning at the Epsom Police Court she was charged with ‘counselling 
and procuring’ the act of the ‘unknown persons’ who had damaged 
the house in course of building for Mr. Lloyd George, at Walton 
Heath. The accusation was based upon Mrs. Pankhurst’s declared 
acceptance of responsibility for what the militant women might do in 
the struggle for enfranchisement. She had not known beforehand of 
the Lloyd George house affair, but as a matter of principle she was 
determined to stand by those who were pursuing militancy in the way 
fiicts had convinced her was the only effectual protest against the 

Mother reserved her defence and was committed for trial at the 
Summer Assizes to be held at Guildford in May. Bail she would not 
apply for as it meant giving an undertaking as to her activities. If the 
I^g’s Speech did not promise a measure of votes for women, she 
must maintain her freedom of action. She would refuse bail and go 
to prison, but she would at oijpe adopt the hunger-strike. ‘Therefore,’ 
said she, ‘if I am alive to be tried at the Summer Assizes, you will 



try a dying person*. Could she not be tried elsewhere, she asked, so 
that the trial might take place without delay? But the prosecution 
‘were afraid not*. 

She was taken to Holloway Prison and began the hunger-strike. 
There were Suffrage prisoners already there, and one, Lillian Lenton, 
had only just been released, seriously ill with pleurisy, due to the en- 
trance of liquid into her lung during forcible feeding. Sylvia, Joyce 
Locke, Miss Bennett, Miss Lambert, Miss Hall, and others were 
prisoners at this time and were hunger-striking and being fed by force. 

Realizing that Mother’s hunger-strike would mean her death long 
before the three months had ended, or else her early release, the 
Government found within twenty-four hours that an early trial at the 
Central Criminal Court in London would after all be possible. Mother 
therefore gave an undertaking for this short time and was released on 

‘By what right do we claim to impose our laws on these women 
and on what principle of good government are we entitled to punish 
them? For my part I find the question difficult to answer, for the basis 
of democratic government is the consent of the governed,* wrote a 
Liberal M.P., Mr. McCurdy, who acknowledged that the Suffragette 
methods, far from being unreasonable, erred rather on the side of 


1913 — ^ New Session 

The Royal Opening — ^Cat and Mouse* Act — Second Con- 
spiracy Trial — Holiday and Re-arrest 

T he King and Queen were driving to Westminster to open the 
new Session of Parliament when a group of women advanced 
to present a petition to His Majesty. Five were arrested, petition 
in hand. They asserted before the magistrate the legality of their 
action and the illegality of their arrest, according to the Bill of 
Rights which declares it is the right of the subject to petition the 
King and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are 

This new session gave the Government a belated chance to save 
their honour. They did not take it. The King’s Speech was eagerly 
awaited but a Plural Voting Bill for men only, without even a pretence 
of being open to amendment, was what it contained ! 

Apart from refusing to keep their own oft-repeated pledge to give 
women an ‘effectual opportunity’ of getting the vote, the Government 
were now threatening new legislation to enable more stringent co- 
ercion of Mrs. Pankhurst and her militants. The Prime Minister’s 
reply to a question by Lord Robert Cecil stated that the Government 
were considering the introduction of a Bill for this purpose. Lord 
Robert had said, when the Government’s promised ‘opportunity’ 
crashed, that ‘It is all very well to denounce the militancy of militant 
women but conceive what any body of men would have done if they 
had been so treated. It would not have been a casual outrage — it 
would have been an insurrection.’ 

The Government’s new plan was formulated in the ‘Cat and Mouse’ 
Act, a statutory memorial, unfortunately ineffaceable, of their lament- 
,able treatment of women and their cause. It was a revolutionary 
Constitutional innovation. Yet a Liberal Government preferred 




this unprecedented measure of repression to giving women the vote. 

The Home Secretary had argued that the alternative to forcible 
feeding was ‘to let the prisoners die’. He assured the House that 
women were prepared to die for the cause. ‘It has been said,’ he said, 
‘that not many women would die, but I think you would find that 
thirty, forty or fifty would come up, one after another.’ Finally, he 
foreshadowed the introduction of a new legislative Act to deal with 
the matter. This proved to be the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act, as it was quickly 
named by critics^ of the Government. 

This new way of coercion was meant for Mrs. Pankhurst. Her trial 
and the passing of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act came together. 

Mother left a message as she went to her trial. ‘It is practically 
certain what the result of the trial will be,’ she said. ‘I shall be con- 
victed, but whether I am sent to prison for a long or short period will 
make no difference to me, I look upon myself as a prisoner of war, 
under no moral obligation to accept my sentence, and that being my 
position, I shall terminate my imprisonment at the earliest possible 
moment, by means of the hunger-strike. I hope to be present with 
you at the Albert Hall meeting, but if I am not there it will be because 
the Government have discovered some new method of keeping me 
alive, or, because I am dead.’ 

The first odium of a Police Court trial and a short sentence on a 
more or less technical charge had long faded and turned to honour. 
That had become a sort of presentation at Court. Thousands of women 
today regret that they never won, or were bom too late to win, that 

The Government prepared for their new fight against her by 
introducing this new measure, framed with the purpose of making 
her serve, in spite of the hunger-strike, every single day of the long 
sentence that was surely awaiting her. 

Mrs. Pankhurst pleaded ‘Not Guilty’. She conducted her own 
defence. Mr. A. E. W. Marshall was her solicitor. ‘These trials afford 
us, at a very great price,’ she said, ‘an opportunity to get into the 
minds of the men who try us, something of what women feel about 
their political position. 

‘It is a very serious thing when a large number of respect- 
^le, normally law-abiding persons of upright life seriously make 
up their mind that they are justified in breaking the law. I am 

^ Originally in the columns of Votes for Women. — Ed. 



charged with inciting. I pointed out to my audiences that we have 
been directly incited by members of the present Government. If incite- 
ment to acts of violence is wrong and I am to be punished for in- 
citing women to such acts, how is it that members of His Majesty’s 
Government are not put into the dock by my side, for they are equally 
guilty! Threats are being made that Ireland is to be drowned in blood 
if Home Rule is forced upon unwilling Ulster. The people who utter 
this incitement are not in the position I am in, they are voters and have 
constitutional means of prevention and redress of grievances. ... I ask 
you, gentlemen of the jury, is it right that you should assist in punish- 
ing women who, because of the impossibility of getting reform of the 
laws that affect them very closely, are driven to take the stand they 
are taking.^ Not one of us would, if women were free, be law-breakers. 
We are women who seriously believe that the hard path we are 
treading is the only path to enfranchisement. Gentlemen of the jury, 
I ask you to give your verdict not solely upon my case but upon this 
agitation and to give a verdict of “Not Guilty’’.* The verdict was 
‘Guilty, with a strong recommendation to mercy’. Another moral 
acquittal by the public. Little the Government heeded this verdict! 
The quality of their mercy was strained indeed! . . . The judge im- 
posed sentence of three years’ penal servitude. 

At this harsh sentence the Court echoed with cries of sympathy 
and with cheers for Mother. 

Mother now entered upon the ordeal, long drawn out, which was 
to last until the outbreak of the Great War. She was taken to Holloway 
Prison, just as Cabinet Ministers were looking forward to a happy 
week-end. During their talk over the tea-cups they would perhaps 
find opportunity to discuss how to get rid finally of this business of 
votes for women. They had got ‘the mother’ in for three years’ 
penal servitude. They would soon have the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act 
carried into law as a means of seeing that she would serve her sentence 
and would be kept on the sick list when she was not in prison. The 
next thing was to deal with ‘the daughter’! She was out of their reach, 
running the movement from Paris. They had tried to get her back, but 
she would not come. Waves of suggestion had gone forth and even 
some friends of the movement, in all sincerity of course, had pleaded 
with Christabel to come back to London, ‘You are needed in London!’ 
rfiey would say. ‘I am doing my work from here as though I were in 
London,’ she would answer. ‘But you are needed on the platform!’ 

1913 — A. NEW SESSION 245 

‘I can very well be spared, we have so many fine speakers.’ *Ah, but 
no real eloquence!’ This was amusing, considering that they had 
Mother herself, as well as many other exceptionally eloquent speakers. 
The Exile was flattered as being ‘indispensable in London’. She was 
taunted with cowardice for keeping away. Nothing moved her. As I 
told one kind visitor who begged me to return wiA her; ‘I could not 
do it. It is as though a high, hard wall stood between me and that 
boat. I must not go !’ 

Very well, then! If the Exile would not return, to be arrested and 
put out of control of the movement in that way, her long-distance 
control from Paris must be broken. Annie Kenney must be arrested; 
then what could Ghristabel do! We had suspected that this was 
coming. Waves of insinuation had tended to make things difficult 
for Annie already. She had been told she ought to ‘think for herself’ 
and not be ‘just a blotter for Ghristabel’. This was a joke between us 
and she took to signing her letters to me: ‘The Blotter’. Her staunch- 
ness and loyalty had been a rock on which the Government’s attack 
had broken. They knew it. Arrest Annie Kenney then, and control 
from Paris would be ended. She was arrested a few days after Mother’s 
three years’ penal servitude began. 

All this time militant acts were taking place in various parts of 
the country. The Government’s attack upon Mother, the forcible 
feeding of prisoners, the arrest of Annie Kenney, far from stopping 
militancy, incited the women who were out of gaol to greater mili- 
tancy than before. Empty houses were demolished; a race-course 
stand was destroyed; the glass covering several pictures in the 
Manchester Art Galley was smashed. . . . The militant activity of 
our women was amazing, yet not so much as a cat was hurt. 

Mother at once resorted to the hunger-strike, on reaching Hollo- 
way. Questioned in Parliament, Mr. McKenna said that she was not 
taking food. He had nothing to say as to her release. The whole 
world was watching the issue of this life-and-death struggle befween 
one fragile woman and the British Government, in wondeijnent at 
the measures used by the Mother of Parliaments to coerce the women 
who wished only for the right to share in electing that Parliament. 
Nine days without fiaod and Mother was released in an exhausted 
condition. The Government had let her go very far before releasing 



her. Only fifteen days and, according to the terms of her release under 
the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act, she must go back to prison! The Government 
rushed the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act through Parliament as fast as they 
could, in order to have more power for defeating her. Ostensibly 
divided in theory on the question of votes for women, the Govern- 
ment united in coercing, more and more harshly, the women who 
demanded the vote. The ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act is a memorial to the 
self-sacrifice of Mother and the numbers of other women who suffered 
under its cruel procedure. 

‘I have not the necessary powers,’ complained the Home Secretary, 
when he introduced the Bill, ‘to deal with an unprecedented set of 
circumstances. Our former laws have been adequate in dealing with 
ordinary prisoners, but a new set of prisoners have come.’ Dropping 
his former claim that forcible feeding was ‘medical treatment’, he 
admitted ‘that forcible feeding, whether for those who suffer it or for 
those who administer it, is a most objectionable practice’. Other means 
ought to be sought, means which, he claimed, the ‘Cat and Mouse’ 
Act would provide. A moment later he asked the House to leave him 
the power of forcible feeding, to be used at his will and pleasure. So 
the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Bill was not an alternative to ‘the most objection- 
able practice of forcible feeding’ I It was an addition to it. Yet another 
extra weapon he sought: ‘the power to release without remission of 
sentence’. The ticket-of-leave, known to the existing law, involved 
remission of sentence for the time it was in operation. The Home 
Secretary could not accept that Mrs. Pankhurst’s fifteen days’ sick 
leave from prison should be deducted from her three years’ term of 
penal servitude. The Home Secretary claimed that if Parliament would 
carry this Act, they would be saved the spectacle, which they now 
saw, of women defying the law and saying publicly that they would 
commit militant acts, be sent to prison, be out again in a few days, and 
be militant again. His claim was falsified by the event. Militancy was 
more vigorous and widespread than ever, after the ‘Cat and Mouse’ 
Act was carried and operated against women. 

The Home Secretary held out a hint of peace and pardon to all or 
any Suffragettes who would abandon militancy! Pface without honour! 

The first voice raised to condemn the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act was 
that of Mr. McCurdy, the Liberal m.p. ‘The object of this Bill is to 
restrict the liberty of the subject,’ he said. ‘Each of these licences is 
a fresh imprisonntent, subject to conditions to be left to the discretion 



of the Home Secretary.’ Mr. McCurdy then read from the speeches 
made in the dock by suffrage prisoners, showing the intelligent 
political reasoning and high motive prompting them to their acts. 
‘The plea of these women is,’ said McCurdy, ‘that they are forced 
into illegal propaganda by the fact that they have found all avenues 
of constitutional redress closed to them.’ 

Mr. Atherley Jones predicted the futility of the Bill and condemned 
it as ‘entirely contrary to the principle of our criminal administrator. 
There is no precedent for it in the penology either of this country or 
of any other European country, so far as I know. It proposed in- 
definitely to extend the imprisonment. I regard the Bill as establishing 
a very dangerous precedent, by giving the Executive powers which 
may be, and history informs us are too often, likely to be abused.’ 

This was a strange measure to be proposed by a Liberal Govern- 
ment, remarked Lord Robert Cecil. His remedy was deportation. 

‘I submit that you should go to the root of the cause which creates 
these martyrs,’ said Mr. D. M. Mason. ‘The cause is the denial of justice 
to these women and until you face that manfully and straightforwardly 
and deal with the cause of their distrust, you will never be able to 
remedy the situation.’ 

Viscount Wolmer remarked that even if he believed with its sup- 
porters that the Bill would break the spirit of the Suffragettes, he 
could not vote for it for: ‘I do not think that they can be suppressed 
by force in the manner proposed by this Bill. They are only criminals 
for the sake of what they believe to be a just cause; apart from the 
question of woman suffrage these women are like any other ordinary 

Anti-Suffragist though he was, Sir Arthur Markham, m.p., de- 
nounced the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Bill as framed, he said, ‘with dia- 
bolical ingenuity’. He disapproved of the whole system of bringing 
prisoners backwards and forwards from prison. As to forcible feeding, 
he said: ‘We talk of the heroism of soldiers, but there is no heroism 
that I can conceive which is greater than that of a person in cold blood, 
day by day, submitting herself to this horrible process and flghting 
successfully, as women have done, against the efforts to forcibly feed 

Despite these arguments against it, the ‘Cat and Mouse* Bill passed 
its second reading by a majority of 296 votes to 43, the majority in 
its favour being composetl of men of all parties in the House. In quick 


time it passed through all its stages in the House of Commons and 
House of Lords, and was the law of the land. 

The Liberal Government, newly armed against Mrs. Pankhurst 
and our Union, now struck another blow. Mother was in prison, 
Annie Kenney was under arrest. General Drummond had just re- 
placed Annie, who herself was to have replaced Mother, as chairman 
at an Albert Hall meeting. Now the General was arrested because of 
her speech that night. She had denounced the Government’s treat- 
ment of Mother and their whole Suffrage policy, and she had pointed 
to the notorious speeches of certain Ministers as provocative of mili- 
tancy. She claimed that if Mr. Bonar Law was justified in upholding 
Ulster in going ‘to any length of resistance’, so was she where the 
women’s resistance to disfranchisement was concerned. 

Another summons was served upon Mr. George Lansbury, who 
had been among the speakers at the Albert Hall meeting and had asked 
why highly placed Privy Councillors should be immune from the 
penalties imposed on Mrs. Pankhurst. 

* Raided!' This one word appeared blackly on the front page of 
our paper. The Government had completed their coup by raiding 
Lincoln’s Inn House and seizing Rachel Barrett, assistant editor. They 
also arrested members of the office staff. Miss Kerr, Mrs. Sanders, wife 
of Alderman Sanders, and the Misses Lennox and Lake, though they 
had no part in militancy and no responsibility in connection with it. 
Documents were seized and taken to Scotland Yard. The Government 
had thus, as they thought, demolished the W.S.P.U. as an effective 
force, isolated me and broken my control of the movement. 

But again they failed. Again the Union rose phoenix-like from its 
Government-wrought ruins. The line of control between,, Paris and 
London was never broken. Annie Kenney and I had foreseen the 
Government’s intention and we were ready! At the moment of the 
former raid, Annie had come forward as chief organizer. Now there 
stepped into the breach another unexpected and powerful personality 
— Grace Roe! We had told her beforehand to be ready to follow 
Annie. With quiet courage she had accepted the dangerous post. It 
had been a hushed secret until then that she would take Annie’s place. 
Not a breath of it must get out, or the enemy might hear and she would 
be arrested with Annie, instead of being free to replace her. 

1913 — A NEW SESSION 249 

A little more than one year had Annie’s reign as chief organizer 
lasted. She had carried a great burden of work and responsibility and 
faced continuous danger of arrest; yet she had never faltered. Every 
week-end and sometimes oftener, she had journeyed to Paris for con- 
centrated discussion of plans. She had gloriously well done her hard 
and exacting work. Now another work, different but no less difficult, 
awaited her. She went to meet it without fear. 

It was now the turn of Grace Roe. Ably and courageously she 
played her part. Gently bred, disarmingly amiable, and very young 
for a responsibility so great, she showed all the judgment, discretion, 
determination, and organizing power demanded in that contest with a 
Government of clever men, determined at all costs to defeat us. Her 
loyalty was complete ! I wonder at it all on reviewing those militant 
years. Single-eyed concentration of strength and simplicity of life 
was largely the secret of what she did. Energy was not expended in 
side issues. 

Mother wrote from her sick bed to her women, telling them to be 

‘Be strong. Be faithful to one another, and to the Union, and all 
will be well.’ 

Grace was in command at headquarters. She and our splendid 
members, rallying as they always did, no matter what the Govern- 
ment’s onslaughts might be, sent the wheels of the organization 
smoothly round again. The paper^ appeared, meetings were held. 
Militant women were here, there, and everywhere throughout the 
country. Grace Roe’s successor was appointed and in readiness, 
but we kept her identity a secret. Grace would be arrested event- 
ually as Annie had been. She knew that well, but she went steadily 

Annie and the General and all the Raid prisoners appeared at Bow 
Street. They were charged with ‘having conspired with Mrs. Pank- 
hurst. Miss Christabel Pankhurst and others’ to cause damage to 

Counsel for the prosecution said: ‘Mrs. Pankhurst is not before 
the Court for excellent reasons. Miss Christabel Pankhurst has been 
for over a year a fugitive from justice, but actually supports the 

^ C. P. is here referring to The Suffragette which had become the otgan^ of the 
W.S.P .U. after the severance from my wife and myself, who continued to bring out 
Fotetfor IFomeru— Ed. 



work of the Union from the seclusion of Paris. Police finds at 
W.S.P.U. headquarters included/ he said, *a large number of hammers 
and a letter suggesting that sneeze-producing powder should be spread 
in public gatherings.’ He did not know, he solemnly said, whether 
this was the cause of a recent epidemic of sneezing at the Central 
Criminal Court. It wasn’t, but the suggestion roused General 
Drummond’s risibility and there was an epidemic of laughter in 

The General was then suddenly taken seriously ill, an operation 
was found urgently necessary and she disappeared from the trial. The 
others were tried at the Old Bailey on a conspiracy charge. With them 
was tried Mr. Edwyn Clayton, charged on the basis of a letter respect- 
ing some militant preparations. The police, when raiding the Kenneys’ 
flat, had seized with other matters a book on the Bristol franchise 
riots, and in its pages this letter, which Jessie but for her ill-health at 
that time would have destroyed. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton were both 
generous and brave in this affair. Mr. Lansbury, it may here be noted, 
was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, but the Government 
did not apply the 'Cat and Mouse’ Bill to him. He was a past and 
prospective M.P. with a political following among the electors. 

Incautious words by the prosecution roused the newspapers in our 
defence on one important issue. They protested that counsel for the 
prosecution had threatened to suppress the newspaper The Suffragette, 
'We know of no power in England by which a paper can be suppressed 
or "put a stop to”,’ said the Manchester Guardian. All through the 
troubles which the Government made for us we found some printer 
willing to print our paper. 

The conspiracy prisoners were sentenced to be imprisoned from 
six months to twenty-one months and to be bound over for an addi- 
tional twelve months which, in view of their principles, meant the 
addition of another full year’s sentence of imprisonment. The judge 
spoke of them, and to them, in the severest terms and declared that if 
consulted he would advise that 'the ringleaders should not be let out 
of prison in any circumstances’. Annie said to him: 'Then we shall die 

The judge, being independent of the votes of the electorate and 
thus superior to political considerations, might dare that eventuality. 
But the Government could not afford to have six or seven prisoners 
dying all at once in prison. They did not, therefore, take the judge’s 

1913 ^ new session 251 

advice, and when the prisoners resorted to the hunger-strike they 
waited only until they reached the point of extreme weakness and re- 
leased them under ‘Cat and Mouse’ licences — ^which, however, lasted 
only seven days! 

In speaking of this hunger-strike Mother told of her anguish of 
mind as she thought of the hard fight before the Government would 
yield and of the bodily suffering of ‘these nine terrible days, each 
longer and more increasingly miserable than the last’. At last ‘a curious 
numbness and indifference seemed to come upon her’ and it was 
‘almost without emotion’ that she heard on the morning of the tenth 
day that she was to be released. The licence was read to her and she 
took it and tore it into shreds, saying: ‘I have no intention of observing 
these conditions. You release me knowing perfectly well that I shall 
never voluntarily return to this place.’ She was sent off in a cab, sitting 
bolt upright despite her weakness. As she passed through the prison 
gates she saw the W.S.P.U. members who had picketed the prison 
night and day during her stay there, a vigil which was thereafter main- 
tained whenever she was in prison during her many hunger-strikes 
to come. 

The Government kept a police watch to prevent Mother’s escape. 
Two detectives and a constable were posted outside the door of the 
nursing home to which she went, others were in the offing, and two 
taxi-cabs were kept in readiness for pursuit. Persons emerging from 
the house were closely watched. However, Mother was next heard of 
in Norfolk Square, under the roof of the woman scientist, Mrs. Ayrton. 
The licence had expired four days when Dr. Flora Murray, who was 
attending Mother, received a notification from the Home Secretary 
that a warrant had been issued for the arrest of her patient. The police, 
accompanied by a medical inspector, arrived. After Mrs. Ayrton had 
examined the warrant they were admitted. The medical inspector of 
prisons, who had come in person, saw that Mother was too ill to be 
re-arrested and stated that the licence would be extended, but for how 
long remained unknown. Mother was then removed in an ambulance 
to the country to recuperate. The police saw her go but, having no 
instructions, did not arrest her. Dr. Flora Murray and Miss Pine, a 
trained nurse, accompanied her. From this time until the outbreak of 
war, when with Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson she worked in hospitals 
for the wounded, Dr. Murray devoted herself to the medical care of 
Mother and of all our many prisoners. Miss Pine arranged to be always 


with Mother to nurse her in the intervals between her ‘Cat and Mouse’ 

Mother drove to the house of Dame Ethel Smyth at Woking, 
where she stayed for several days, a guard of police and detectives 
being posted to prevent her escape. A great W.S.P.U. meeting had 
been arranged and Mother announced that, weak as she was, she would 
speak. As she left the house she was arrested. In a half-fainting con- 
dition she entered the waiting motor-car, the detectives following. The 
W.S.P.U. chauffeur refused to obey their order to drive to Bow Street, 
so they transferred their prisoner to a cab. She was taken before the 
magistrate and committed to prison, though under the ‘Cat and 
Mouse’ licences this formality was not in future necessary. Mother 
declared to the magistrate her resolve to adopt the hunger-strike and 
to repeat it as many times as the Government should re-arrest her, until 
she died or until the concession of the vote. Five days she was kept, 
fasting, in prison, and then released for seven days and again taken to 
the nursing home. 

The ‘Cat and Mouse’ policy failed from the beginning, though it 
was destined to bring great danger and suffering to Mother and many 
another Suffrage prisoner. Upon what else, we asked, could the 
Government depend as a barrier against votes for women! Added to 
‘Cat and Mouse’ treatment the Government still used forcible feeding 
for some prisoners. A serious case was that of Phyllis Brady who, after 
five days’ hunger-strike, was fed by force by nasal tube against her 
utmost resistance. A swollen nostril developed and still forcible feed- 
ing continued for days, causing agony. Once the tube got into her 
windpipe. Finally she was released. 

The medical profession was stirred by the issue of forcible feed- 
ing. A meeting of doctors, imder the presidency of Dr. Hugh Fenton, 
passed a resolution calling upon the Home Office no longer to require 
prison medical officers to act under the direction of lay authorities in 
professional matters and to abandon forcible feeding. The editor of the 
British Medical Journal said: ‘Prison medical officers are faced with a 
divided duty, that which they owe to their patients and that which 
they owe to their official superiors, and the Home Office has no right 
to place them in this cruel dilemma.’ 

Our efforts were bent on keeping our women out of the clutches 
of the Government. Mrs. Brackenbury placed at our disposal her house 
in Campden Hill Square as a refuge. Known as ‘Mouse Castle’, this 

1913 ^ new session 


house sheltered ‘Cat and Mouse’ prisoners during their illness, and 
from this stronghold they used to escape in many ingenious and 
courageous ways, in spite of the constant watch maintained by the 
police. One prisoner escaped in broad daylight when a crowd of 
women, dressed all alike, the one prisoner among them, suddenly 
rushed through the door and fled in all directions, the police on duty 
not knowing which to follow. 

Carefully manufactured and, to us, rather amusing rumours were 
being circulated in the newspapers to the effect that there was a feeling 
in W.S.P.U. ranks in favour of dropping militancy; that it ‘would be 
as well to call a truce, but unfortunately for the hopes of those who 
take this view it is feared that Miss Christabel Panldiurst has not the 
capacity for generalship necessary to understand the desirability of a 
dramatic change in tactics’, or again: ‘the real obstacle to such a truce 
is the obstinacy of Miss Christabel Pankhurst, who is expected to re- 
fuse assent to any abatement of militant activity until the vote is won 
or the movement is crushed’. ‘Miss Pankhurst’s hold over the rank 
and file is so strong,’ we read, ‘that the advocates of moderation do not 
care at the moment to risk a struggle with her, but it can be said that 
the advocates of a truce are ever watchful.’ We laughed at this and we 
knew its source, outside, not inside, the W.S.P.U. Other rumours 
were tried. I was ‘warned’, indirectly, to leave France and go to some 
more remote country, as otherwise I should be expelled from France 
and find myself in England in the jaws of the enemy. As control of the 
movement would have been far more difficult in a more distant 
country, I declined to move. A more serious rumour of expulsion 
eventually reached me which, it was said, also reached Monsieur 
Poincar^, then President of the French Republic. His comment was, 
so it was said, that I should not be expelled, as this would be contrary 
to French tradition and international custom. Questions in our own 
House of Commons and in the Chamber of Deputies, as to whether I 
should be turned out of France and whether this had been requested 
by the British Government, were answered with a decorous negative. 

Mother was ill from her second hunger-strike — or, more truly, her 
hunger-and-thirst-strike, for she had refused even water — and that 
barbarous ‘Cat and Mouse’ licence of one week had not yet expired, 
when there came with sudden shock the news of Emily Wilding 
Davison’s historic act. She had stopped the King’s horse at the Derby 
and was lying mortally injured. We were as startled as everyone else. 



Not a word had she said of her purpose. Taking counsel with no one, 
she had gone to the race-course, waited her moment, and rushed for- 
ward. Horse and jockey were unhurt, but Emily Davison paid with 
her life for making the whole world understand that women were in 
earnest for the vote. Probably in no other way and at no other time 
and place could she so effectually have brought the concentrated 
attention of millions to bear upon the cause. 

‘Waiting there in the sun, in that gay scene, among that heedless 
crowd, she had in her soul the thought, the vision of wronged women. 
That thought she held to her; that vision she kept before her. Thus 
inspired, she threw herself into the fierce current of the race. So greatly 
did she care for freedom that she died for it. That is the verdict given 
at the great Inquest of the Nation on the death of Emily Wilding 
Davison.’ So said our obituary tribute. 

There was a great funeral procession. A poignant happening of 
the day was the Government’s re-arrest of Mother as she was on her 
way to the funeral. ‘The Government have decreed,’ she said, ‘that I 
may not join with members and friends in paying a last tribute of 
reverent gratitude to our dear comrade Emily Davison. I return to 
prison to resume the hunger-strike and I shall do my utmost worthily 
to uphold the standard of revolt against the political and moral enslave- 
ment of women.’ Forty-eight hours after Mother’s enforced return to 
Holloway they had to release her, so ill was she. Yet again the licence 
was only for seven days. 

Another long sentence was now imposed upon two militants 
charged with burning down the Grand Stand at Hurst Park race- 
course. Three years’ penal servitude for a race stand was, we argued, 
in strange contrast to the short terms of imprisonment often given for 
offences against human beings! In the eye of the politicians, and even 
in the eye of the law, property seemed more precious than persons. 

All Suffragette prisoners were refusing food as a protest against 
being condemned to prison instead of being admitted to citizenship. 
They were tempted to eat, not by the regulation diet, but by delicacies 
otherwise not usual in prison! One starving prisoner reported: ‘The 
doctor offered me anything I could fancy — from champagne down- 
wards, and all kinds of dainty food were placed in my cell, beautifully 
cooked and very tempting, chicken, fish, custard pudding, fruit, etc.’ 
An involuntary tribute to our prisoners was made by the Government 
in an inspired statement which appeared in the Press: ‘The difference 



between the treatment of Suffrage prisoners and other criminals who 
hunger-strike is a psychological one. The moral attitude of resistance 
to the law has a great deal to do with the power of effectual resistance 
to food and although cases have been known in which ordinary 
criminals have for a time adopted the hunger-strike, there is no single 
instance in which it has been maintained with the stubbornness of the 
Suffrage prisoners. In official circles no fear is entertained of any at- 
tempt at systematic hunger-strikes among ordinary prisoners. The 
average prisoner values his life and his health too highly to risk either 
by quarrelling with his food.’ What an admission this was of the hero- 
ism of the many women — in numbers now almost past counting — 
who risked health and life for the vote! 

Another inspired statement had it that the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act 
was succeeding, that the number of militant acts was decreasing, that 
some Suffragettes released under the Act had escaped, but in each case 
had left the United Kingdom. All this was untrue. Militant acts con- 
tinued as before, or rather, increased in number and strength, and 
while the ‘mice’ prisoners were hard to find, once they were released 
they did not leave the country, unless for a rest and change, but aimed 
at renewing the fight when health was restored. Mother and others 
who attempted to speak on the public platform were, of course, all too 
easily re-arrested. 

Militancy rose to a high pitch during this final period of the struggle, 
which opened with the Government’s first raid in March 1912, and 
ended with the Women’s Armistice at the beginning of the Great War. 

Mother and Annie Kenney, both under the menace of ‘Cat and 
Mouse’ re-arrest, decided to attend a large afternoon meeting of the 
W.S.P.U. in order, as we said afterwards, ‘to assert their right to be 
free, as $ir Edward Carson and Mr. Sonar Law, militants in the cause 
of Ulster, are free’. 

Thriftily conserving her ‘Cat and Mouse’ licence, Annie had 
brought it to the platform and now sold it for the benefit of the 
W.S.P.U. campaign fund. The Government, she said, could never 
break the spirit of their Suffrage prisoners, and though some might 
die imder coercion the movement would go on. The chairman was 
speaking affectionately of Mother and reminding the audience that this 
was her birthday, when Mother herself appeared. The joy and accla- 
ntation that greeted her can be imagined. When calm was restored 
Mother said: ‘It is a little more than three months since I last stood 



on this platform on the eve of my Old Bailey trial at which I w^ sent 
to three years' penal servitude. Sir Edward Carson is a rebel, as 1 ani. 
He told us so in Ulster a few days ago. Yet he is at liberty, while I am 
a felon, but I and all other women have a justification that Do man 
rebels can have, for we, being voteless, have no constitutional means 
whatever for the redress of our grievance. I wondered as J drove, here 
if I should find physical strength to speak to you, because during these 
last three months I have experienced the tender mercies of the Liberal 
Government in their effort to coerce women. But I thought to myself, 
at any rate I must say one thing — that a defiant deed has greater value 
than innumerable thousands of words — ^and I determined that even if 
I were arrested and taken back to Holloway from the door of this 
meeting, I would do my defiant deed and be with you here.’ 

Police reinforcements had been sent from Scotland Yard and a 
strong force was waiting at the doors. Annie was seized and a great 
struggle ensued, as men and women in the audience tried to rescue her. 
But the police prevailed and drove her to Holloway Prison. Mother, 
most fortunately, passed unnoticed through the thick of the crowd and 
got quietly and safely away to the apartment of one of our members 
in Great Smith Street, Westminster. 

All this time arrests and trials of militants were taking place in 
London and other parts of the country. The present* Viscountess 
Rhondda was arrested in Wales for a letter-box protest but arrests 
were now relatively few. Our women were much more careful now 
than in the early militant days for they were chiefly bent upon respond- 
ing to the challenge given by Cabinet Ministers and upon fulfilling the 
condition of success which Ministers had laid down. They had dis- 
covered by experience that the suffering of women militants would 
not be the decisive factor in winning the vo^. That had been proved 
by the enactment of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act, by a majority of the 
members of each political party in the House of Commons, and by the 
tolerance during those already long years of forcible feeding. Militancy, 
to be effective, must not merely hurt and endanger the lives of the 
women themselves; it must, at the very least, produce intense incon- 
venience and even a certain alarm to the Government. 

^he next big W.S.P.U. meeting saw Mother and Annie again on 
the platform. Annie could not be re-arrested, because the licence issued 
after her recent arrest, followed by a himger-strike and further release, 
^ She died in 1958, — Ed. 

Courtesy of the National P or twit Gallery 

Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst 

Arrest of Grace Roe 



had not yet ^ired! Mother was liable to re-arrest. Already the police 
had been oh the watdi in Great Smith Street, to arrest her should she 
leave her flat. . Already they had arrested a veiled lady who, accom- 
panied by several other persons, had emerged from the building and, 
after a fight in the street, had driven away with her in a cab for Hollo- 
way. But when she at last lifted her veil she proved not to be Mrs. 
Pankhurst after all ! They had rushed back to their post, but they were 
too late. The real Mrs. Pankhurst had gone. Thus she was able to 
reach the meeting. But as she was moving through the audience to- 
wards the platform a detective seized her by the arm and pulled her 
towards the door. ‘Women, they are arresting me!’ MoAer cried. 
They rose to her aid. More detectives appeared and a terrific struggle 
followed. There were cries of pain as women were almost crushed. 
Some sustained severe blows. Police arrived in great force, while 
Mother and some of those defending her were gradually isolated from 
the main body. All lights were turned off and in the semi-darkness the 
police were more easily able to drag Mother from the hall and take her 
to prison again. Arrests were made of a certain number of those who 
had defended her. Annie then appeared on the platform — she was very 
weak but insisted on standing to speak, because that was ‘more de- 
fiant’ — and the gathering resolved itself into an indignation meeting. 

Militancy continued and property paid the price of the Govern- 
ment’s work that day. The Prime Minister visited Birmingham where 
Suffragettes besieged his hotel and a guest at the Chamber of Com- 
merce Dinner challenged him on the question of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ 
Act’ and the denial of votes to women. 

Again Mother and Annie appeared on the platform. Mother was 
just released after a hunger-and-diirst-strike and had to be wheeled to 
the platform in an invalid chair. Her licence of seven days was sold for 
jCioo to swell the campaign funds. Pale and enfeebled, Mother said: 
1 believe that the end of our struggle is in sight — ^but it is not yet here 
and we have to continue it to the end. If we of the Women’s Social and 
Political Union, the vanguard of the women’s army and its fighting 
force, were to relax our efforts, the movement for the vote would go 
back to where it started. We who are fighting this battle will continue 
it, no matter what comes to ourselves, until the victory is ours.* 

The police were waiting outside to arrest Annie, and, after a des- 
perate stru^^ in whidi the tyres of the cab hired by the police were 
cut and several arrests were made, she was placed in a second cab and 



taken to prison. Another hunger-strike — ^another release — ^another 
meeting! Last time she had got into the hall disguised as a very old 
lady, but the police were now forewarned and might see through the 
cleverest disguise. The meeting was held in the London Pavilion, and 
this suggested a plan. A large hamper such as an actress would use was 
procured. Annie crouched inside. It was suitably labelled and delivered 
at the Pavilion! Annie was on the platform and spoke! Afterwards she 
was again arrested and imprisoned. She suffered much in prison and 
was delirious. She was released on an eight-days’ licence. Mother, also 
released on licence, went, after it had expired, to a large W.S.P.U. 
meeting, and for once was not re-arrested. ‘We trust that this means the 
end of the attempt to break the spirit of women by “Cat and Mouse” 
torture,’ was our comment. Alas! it meant no such thing. The ‘Cat 
and Mouse’ system, accompanied in many cases by forcible feeding, 
was only at its beginning. 

Parliament having dispersed for the summer holiday, after an ill- 
spent Session, whose chief exploit was the passing of the ‘Cat and 
Mouse’ Act, Mother and the others who had suffered under the Act 
decided also to take a holiday. 

It was officially announced by the W.S.P.U. that ‘Mrs. Pankhurst 
has, by the advice of her doctor, left England to take a cure in order to 
recover from the effects of her experience under the “Cat and Mouse” 
Act. She will return in due course to resume her work for the move- 
ment as before.’ 

Just before Parliament rose, the Attorney-General had vouchsafed 
an official excuse for the imprisonment of Mrs. Pankhurst and the 
freedom of Sir Edward Carson. This excuse was that Mrs. Pankhurst’s 
words had led to the commission of deeds and Sir Edward Carson’s 
words had not. But what of the recent rioting in Derry, we asked, 
when shots were actually fired.^ 

The Government did not order Mrs. Pankhurst’s arrest on her 
return to England, even though she spoke at two meetings, and she 
decided during this lull in the fight to make another visit to America, 
giving herself the benefit of two restful voyages and the relative repose 
of speaking in full security from re-arrest. She knew well that her 
suffering was destined to be renewed and that all her reserves of 
strength would be needed. 

* 9 * 3 — A NEW SESSION 259 

America’s welcome to Mother was thus expressed in a New York 
daily newspaper; ‘Mrs. Pankhurst has proved by her own courage and 
her own arts the folly of those who object to Woman’s Suffrage. They 
said that women ought not to have the vote because they had not the 
courage to go to war. Mrs. Pankhurst showed them that she had the 
courage to go to gaol. When she came out of gaol, too feeble to walk, 
she had the courage — splendid, moral, spiritual courage — to continue 
her fight for women’s rights and her denunciation of injustice.’ 

Rumour then began that Mother would be refused admission to the 
United States. The American women prepared to act in that event. 
They began to organize a vast meeting of welcome in Madison Square 
Garden. ‘To refuse Mrs. Pankhurst entry would be to hold up America 
to scorn and ridicule,’ said a woman lawyer. ‘Mrs. Pankhurst is in the 
same class with our revolutionary heroes, with Washington, Jefferson, 
and Lincoln.’ 

The American Suffragists stated that they were prepared, if neces- 
sary, to carry the matter to the Supreme Court of the United States. 

After some quiet weeks in France, during which she and I had 
concerted future plans. Mother sailed from Havre to New York early 
in October. 

‘Held up at Ellis Island!’ ‘Indignation in the United States.’ ‘Presi- 
dent Intervenes.’ ‘Extraordinary Welcome in New York.’ These head- 
lines sum up the history of what happened at the other end of her 
voyage. The immigration officers asked Mother whether she had been 
to prison. ‘Yes, many times,’ she answered. She had been admitted, 
though an ex-prisoner, on previous occasions. This time she was 
refused admittance. 

The affair caused an immense stir. American Suffragists bestirred 
themselves. The greatest sympathy was expressed by the American 
public. President Wilson intervened and in conference with the 
Government department concerned decided that Mother should be 
admitted. Mother had, of course, a magnificent reception in New York 
and in the many other cities in which she spoke. The financial fruits of 
her tour, ^(^4,500, she gave to the W.S.P.U. campaign fund. 

Here is Mother’s own account of her remm: 

‘The night before the White Star liner Majestic reached Plymouth, 
a wireless message from our headquarters informed me that the 
Government had decided to arrest me on my arrival. The arrest was 
*nade under very dramatic conditions the next day, shortly before 

26 o 


noon. The steamer came to anchor in the outer harbour and we saw 
at once that the bay, usually so animated, had been cleared of all craft. 
Far in the distance the tender, which on other occasions had always 
met the steamer, rested at anchor between two huge grey warships. 
For a moment or two the scene halted, the passengers crowding to the 
deck rails to see what was to happen next. Suddenly a fisherman’s boat, 
power-driven, dashed across the harbour, directly under the noses of 
the grim war vessels. Two women, spray-drenched, stood up in the 
boat and as it ploughed swiftly past our steamer the women called out 
to me: “The Cats are here, Mrs. Pankhurst! They’re close on you . . .’’ 
Their voices trailed away into the mist and we heard no more. Within 
a minute or two, a frightened ship’s boy appeared on deck and de- 
livered a message from the purser, asking me to step down to his 
office. I answered that I could certainly do nothing of the kind. Next 
the police swarmed out on deck and I heard for the fifth time that I 
was arrested under the “Cat and Mouse” Act. They had sent five men 
from Scotland Yard, two men from Plymouth and a wardress from 
Holloway, a sufficient number, it will be allowed, to take one woman 
from a ship anchored out at sea. Following my firm resolve not to assist 
in any way the enforcing of this infamous coercion law, I refused to go 
with the police, who thereupon carried me to the waiting police tender. 
We steamed some miles up the Cornish coast, the men refusing to 
tell me whither they were conveying me, and finally disembarked at 
Bull Point, a Government landing-stage, closed to the general public. 
Here a motor-car was waiting and accompanied by the police from 
Scotland Yard and the matron from Holloway, I was driven across 
Dartmoor to Exeter where I had a not unendurable imprisonment and 
a hunger-strike of four days. Everyone, from the Governor of the 
prison to the wardresses, was openly sympathetic and kind and I was 
told by one confidential official that they had kept me only because 
they had orders to keep me until after the great W.S.P.U. meeting in 
London which had been arranged to welcome me home. The meeting 
was held on the night following my arrest and the imposing sum of 

5,000 was poured into the coffers, which included the 
which had been collected during my American tour. 

‘Several days after my release from Exeter Gaol, I went openly to 
Paris to coiKult with my daughter on matters relating to the campaign, 
returning to London to attend a W.S.P.U. meeting on the day before 
my licence expired. Nevertheless, the boat-train compartment in which 



I travelled with my doctor and nurse was invaded at Dover Town by 
two detectives who told me to consider myself under arrest. We were 
having tea when the men entered, but this we immediately threw out 
of the window, because a hunger-strike always began at the moment 
of arrest. We never compromised at all, but resisted from the very 
first moment of attack. The reason for this unwarranted arrest at 
Dover was fear of the bodyguard of women, organized for the express 
purpose of resisting attempts to arrest me. Knowing that the body- 
guard was waiting at Victoria Stauon, the authorities had cut off all 
approaches to the arrival platform and the place was guarded by bat- 
talions of police. Not a passenger was allowed to leave the train until 
I had been carried across the arrival platform between a double line of 
police and detectives and placed in a car guarded within by two plain- 
clothes men and a wardress and without by three more policemen. 
Round the motor-car were taxi-cabs filled with police. Arrived at 
Holloway, I was lifted from the car and taken to the reception-room 
and placed on the floor in a state of great exhaustion. When the doctor 
entered I refused to be examined, saying that I was determined to make 
the Government assume full responsibility for my condition. Ward- 
resses were summoned. I was placed in an invalid chair and carried up 
three flights of stairs and placed in a cell. Refusing to leave the chair, I 
was lifted and placed on the bed where I lay all night without re- 
moving my coat or loosening my garments. The arrest was made on 
Saturday and I was kept in prison until the following Wednesday 
morning. During all this time no food or water passed my lips and I 
added to this the sleep-strike. For two nights I sat or lay on the con- 
crete floor, resolutely refusing the repeated offers of medical examina- 
tion. On Tuesday morning the Governor came to look at me and no 
doubt I presented a bad appearance. At least I gathered as much from 
the alarmed expression of the wardresses who accompanied him. To 
the Governor I made the simple statement that I was ready to leave 
prison very soon, dead or alive. I told him that from that moment I 
should not even rest on the concrete floor, but should walk my cell 
until I was released or until I died from exhaustion. All day I kept to 
this resolution, pacing up and down the narrow cell, many times 
stumbling and falling until the doctor came in at evening to tell me 
that I was ordered to be released the following morning. Then I 
loosened my gown and fell almost instantly into a deathlike sleep. 
The next morning a motor ambulance took me to our Kingsway 



headquarters, where a hospital room had been arranged for me. The 
two imprisonments in ten days had made terrible drafts on my 

The arrests at Plymouth and Dover provoked a new outbreak of 
militancy. A timber yard and other property at Devonport were burnt, 
and though those concerned in the affair were never found, they left 
two cards inscribed ‘How dare you arrest Mrs. Pankhurst and let 
Sir Edward Carson and Mr. Bonar Law go free’, and ‘Our reply to the 
torture of Mrs. Pankhurst and her cowardly arrest at Plymouth’. 

Women’s militancy had been the dominant fact of the expiring 
year. In his Christmastide sermon the Archbishop, of Canterbury 
spoke of the ‘general bewilderment wherewith impatient zeal has 
tangled the whole question of the due apportionment to manhood and 
womanhood of our joint trust for the common good’. Our zeal we 
admitted, but no undue impatience. 

The women’s war for the vote, though it had in one year caused a 
vast destruction of property valued at more than half a million pounds, 
had done no bodily injury to the enemy or to onlookers. Only the 
women had been hurt. Emily Davison had lost her life in a deed of 
great daring and self-devotion. Other of our women had died un- 
noticed by the world, but honoured and mourned by their colleagues, 
who knew them to have been in truth victims of the struggle. Mother 
and her fellow prisoners had been persecuted by the Government. 
Nevertheless, Mother and her militants were in good heart and un- 
broken in spirit at the close of this year. Militancy was full of danger 
and pain for women. As 1914 dawned, Mother, like Garibaldi in his 
day, and to adapt his words, offered to herself and to her followers in- 
sult and abuse and pain and loneliness and loss of friends and the anger 
of politicians. 

Yet, like Garibaldi also, she said: ‘Let her who takes this cause in 
her heart and not with her lips only, follow me!’ 

One other thing she could promise. It was final victory. 


1914 — Last Year of Militancy 

Ulster's Example — Anarchy — ^Raided Again' — Another 
Conspiracy Trial — Tempering the Steel 

A DEPUTATION to the King! 

This was out first thought for 1914. We awaited the re- 
L opening of Parliament to know whether the Government’s 
programme for the new Session would include votes for women 
before making our formal request to send the deputation. 

Those other militants, Sir Edward Carson and the rest, were more 
defiant than ever. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, then very near the end of 
his days, had just advised them to ‘fight it out’. Sir Edward Carson 
said they assuredly would! Women were being brought into the 
Ulster scheme of things militant and no one seemed to complain! 
Women, it appeared, could be rightly militant in any cause but votes 
for women ! 

The Daily Telegraph paid a great tribute to the women of Ulster 
and also to ‘the Boer’ women in the South African War, whose tactics 
imposed upon the British generals the cruel necessity of burning the 
scattered farms of the burghers. We saw from this that burning houses 
was, in men’s eyes, quite justified in the cause of votes for men in 
South Africa, the issue out of which the Boer War had developed, 
and that militancy on the part of women was admired by men, pro- 
vided that women were militant for a cause direaly affecting men and 
not in a cause directly affecting women only. 

Forcible feeding was one of the great issues of 1914. This ‘most 
objectionable practice’, to cite Mr. McKenna’s own admission, was 
applied in addition to and in conjunction with ‘Cat and Mouse’ treat- 
nient. The Church of England and the Free Churches were approached 
on the subject. Leading medical organs, in growing numbers, con- 
demned the practice. 

‘The deputation to the King is the best step you have taken/ wrote 




our members. ‘To none will we deny, to none delay, right of justice,^ 
is the Royal promise in the Magna Carta. 

Historic precedents were set forth by a learned Suffragette, Miss 
F. E. Macaulay, of the same family as the historian of that name. Con- 
stitutional law also warranted women’s claim to petition the King in 

The King’s Speech at the new Session of Parliament gave no hint 
of any concession of the vote, but made conciliatory reference to the 
Ulster issue. Mr. Asquith, in the House of Commons, indicated that 
the Government had concessions to make ‘for the sake of peace and as 
the price of peace’. What a triumph that was for Ulster militancy! 

Mother who had been in Paris left when Parliament reassembled. 
The most painful phase of the long conflict awaited her and she knew 
it. It was hard to re-enter the arena of battle, to face again the arrests 
with all their violence, the sombre drives to Holloway, the prison cell, 
the days of hunger and thirst and the illness following, the tension of 
the licence times, with re-arrest to follow. 

The women’s bodyguard, enrolled to protect Mother from arrest 
and violence, was in readiness. When she reached ‘Mouse Castle’, the 
bodyguard was there to welcome her. What a haven that roomy house 
afforded! There our prisoners found shelter, comfort, and the medical 
care and nursing they so sadly needed after their prison ordeal; there 
they regained strength for the ordeals to come. Now the bodyguard 
were housed there too. 

‘Mrs. Pankhurst, who has returned to England, in order to resume 
her work for the vote, has taken up her residence in Campden Hill 
Square, where she will address a public open-air meeting tonight at 
8.30.’ This announcement was sent to the Press and a vast and sympa- 
thetic crowd assembled. Mother appeared at an open window and was 
received with a great outburst of cheering from the thousands as- 
sembled below. She spoke for almost half an hour in that voice that, 
in an effortless way, carried so far. She appealed to all to help to get 
the Suffrage question dealt with. To her followers she said: ‘Even if 
they kill you and me, victory is assured.’ Announcing her intention of 
leaving the house and coming among the people. Mother challenged 
the Government to re-arrest her and feed her by force, as they were 
forcibly feeding her followers. Then she left the window and was seen 
emerging from the house, surrounded by her bodyguard. The police, 
present in large numbers, rushed forward. There was resistance and a 

19 * 4 — last year of militancy 265 

fierce struggle before an arrest was made. At the police station the 
police handed over their captive. ‘It isn’t Mrs. Panliurst!’ they were 
told. They had arrested one of our members instead! 

This member later made this sworn declaration: ‘I heard them say: 
“There she is, there’s Mrs. Pankhurst, come on all of you.” In one 
moment I was nearly stunned by a blow over the back of my head 
and the next moment I was thrown violently to the ground while men 
knelt or sat down roughly on my back, so that I felt as if my ribs were 
cracking and all the breath going out of my body. I remember groan- 
ing out: “God have mercy upon me,” and thinking my last moment 
had come. How glad I was that it wasn’t Mrs. Pankhurst! The surge 
of the crowd and the trampling of feet all round and over our bodies 
seemed tremendous. I knew nothing more and think I must have been 
unconscious when they dragged me up. Then I began to be aware of 
voices and heard: “They have killed Mrs. Pankhurst.” Someone said: 
“They have got the wrong woman,” and the detectives, who were on 
either side of me, began arguing as to whether I was or was not Mrs. 
Pankhurst. I heard them say: “Let’s get her to the police station first.” 

A grey-headed man who was, I believe. Inspector of Scotland 

Yard, threw open the door of the room into which they had put me, 
looked angrily at me and said furiously: “No it isn’t,” and slammed the 
door. Then I heard a great altercation going on outside.’ 

The next news of Mrs. Pankhurst was that she would address an 
open-air meeting on a Saturday afternoon from a balcony in Glebe 
Place, Chelsea. Thither she had gone to stay with friends, after the 
meeting in Campden Hill Square. Again a great multitude assembled 
to hear her. Again the police were there to arrest her, should she leave 
the house. The meeting ended. In a few moments both the house door 
and a garden gate opened and a crowd of women poured out. The 
police surrounded them; there was a struggle and two women were 
arrested. The police resumed their watch upon the house, by night 
and day. Then quite late one night, when two detectives were on the 
doorstep and others within call, three taxi-cabs drove to the house and 
several women jumped out and dashed to the house door, through 
which suddenly came a number of other women. Here was the body- 
guard! Whistles blew and police seemed to spring from the earth. The 
police drew their truncheons. The bodyguard produced Indian clubs. 
The police, knowing a rescue was intended, made a fight. The body- 
guard fought too, and while they held the police at bay, Mother quietly 



passed through the door, entered a taxi-cab and drove away. One 
inspector caught sight of her and tried to stop her, but he was firmly 
seized and his headgear pushed over his eyes. ‘Most of the police,’ it 
was rejjorted, ‘were so busy defending themselves that they entirely 
forgot Mrs. Pankhurst.’ 

Mother’s next action was to write to the King, appealing to be 
heard by him in person. 

This letter was answered by Mr. McKenna, who, as Home Secre- 
tary, wrote that he had ‘laid her petition before the King’ but ‘regretted 
that he had been unable to advise His Majesty to comply with the 
prayer thereof’. 

Mother wrote a second letter to the King in which she said that 
women ‘utterly denied the constitutional right of Ministers, who are 
not elected by women, to stand between themselves and the Throne 
and to prevent them having audience of Your Majesty’. 

Militancy was rapidly winning its victory in the affair of Ulster. 
The Prime Minister was admitting that ‘the immediate inclusion of 
Ulster in the Home Rule Bill has all the drawbacks and dangers inci- 
dent to anjy scheme which has to be coercively enforced* \ Powerful words 
as a justification of Suffrage militancy; yet there was much still for 
women to suffer before their victory. 

Scotland was awaiting a visit from Mother. In St. Andrew’s Hall, 
Glasgow, 5,000 men and women had assembled to acclaim her. The 
building was surrounded by police, instructed to arrest her as she 
entered the meeting. Somehow she got to the platform. ‘I have kept 
my promise,’ she said, ‘and in spite of His Majesty’s Government I 
am here tonight. Today, in the House of Commons, has been wit- 
nessed the triumph of men’s militancy [a reference to the Govern- 
ment’s evident disposition to yield to Ulster],'and I hope to make it 
clear to this meeting that if it is justifiable to fight for ordinary equal 
justice, then women have ample justification for ’ 

Suddenly a warning cry from a steward! Then a tramp of feet and 
the police in large numbers burst into the hall and rushed to the plat- 
form, drawing their truncheons. The women’s bodyguard and mem- 
bers of the audience resisted the police. A barbed-wire entanglement 
had been prudently placed as a barrier beneath the flowers and bunting. 
Missiles were thrown and chairs brandished to hold the police back, 
in the hope of enabling Mother to get away, but the police laid about 
them wiA their batons and additional police were invading the hall 

1914 — last year of militancy 267 

and blocking exits through which she might pass. At last, after an 
intense struggle, she was arrested and taken to the train bound for 
London. The police then tried to clear the hall, but the indignant 
audience refused to leave and a protest meeting was held, addressed 
by Lady Isabel Margesson, Mrs. Drummond, and Miss Barbara Wylie. 
The stations at which the train stopped were guarded by police, and at 
Euston police precautions were evident. Mother was t^en back to 
Holloway Prison, considerably hurt in the struggle and utterly weary 
from the whole experience. In Edinburgh, where she was to have spoken 
the following night, a great protest meeting was held in the Synod Hall. 

Indignation moved one of her followers. Miss Mary Richardson, 
to an act which made a great sensation — the attack on a picture, the 
‘Rokeby Venus’. She paid dearly by forcible feeding in prison. ‘I 
thought over my act very seriously before I undertook it,’ she said in 
Court. ‘I have been a student of art and I suppose care as much for art 
as anyone in the gallery that morning. But I care more for justice.’ The 
prosecution had characterized her act as an ‘outrage’, but she held 
that the Government’s treatment of Mrs. Pankhurst was ‘an ultima- 
tum of outrages. It is slow murder’. The judge remarked that if the 
picture had been destroyed (it was not) no money could have replaced 
it. ‘No money under the sun could replace Mrs. Pankhurst,’ said 
Miss Richardson. 

Scotland was still deeply stirred by the St. Andrew’s Hall arrest 
and by the forcible feeding in Calton Gaol of a Suffragette, who had 
to be released suffering from double pneumonia. The Leith by- 
election turned strongly against the Government. 

Mr. Lloyd George, at a public meeting at Huddersfield, now made 
a highly interesting remark which showed that we had much to gain 
from a change of Government. ‘I have deprecated as much as any man 
the breach of the law by people who are fighting for the franchise for 
women,’ he said. ‘But I ask in all seriousness: If Mr. Bonar Law ever 
comes into power what moral right will he have to punish these people 
for breaches of the law.^’ ‘What moral right,’ we asked, ‘had the 
Government, to which Mr. Lloyd George belonged, to punish militant 
women for breaches of the law, when they were not punishing Mr. 
Bonar Law and Sir Edward Carson.^ It was evident,’ we said, ‘that if 
a Conservative Government came into power, Mr. Lloyd George and 
his Liberal colleagi^, although they had not forborne to imprison, 
and “Cat and Mouse*’, and forcibly feed women, rather than give 



them the vote, would raise a great protest against a Conservative 
Government who did so/ We militants, therefore, were living in hope- 
ful expectancy of a General Election, not too long delayed. 

We noticed that although the Government were advising the King 
not to intervene in the woman suffrage question, nor to see Mrs. Pank- 
hurst and her deputation, they were advising him to intervene in the 
Ulster affair and to discuss the Ulster question with such non-Minis- 
terial persons as Lord Roberts, who was militantly disposed in his 
support of Ulster’s position. Mr. Asquith, when in attendance at Bal- 
moral, had, it appeared, sought the King’s approval for private nego- 
tiation with that arch-militant Sir Edward Carson, with a view to 
peace with Ulster. 

Mother, after another hunger-and-thirst-strike, had, under a short 
licence, been released again, still bearing the marks of the Glasgow 
struggle and arrest. 

The Government for some time had prohibited our meetings in 
Hyde Park. When Sir Edward Carson and other Ulsterites announced 
a meeting there, we acted! This manifesto was issued: 


The women who are fighting for the vote have, by a so-called 
Liberal Government, been refused the right of meeting in Hyde Park. 
Suddenly we see from announcements in the Press that the men who are 
preparing to fight Home Rule by methods far more violent than the 
mediods of militant women, have permission to hold a Hyde Park meet- 
ing next Saturday, April 4th. 

This being so, the women have applied to the Government to remove 
the veto on their meetings. 

The Government have refused. 

This unjust refusal the women have declined to accept and they will 
hold a Procession and Hyde Park Demonstration, at the same time that 
the Ulster men are holding theirs. 

If men are allowed to preach militancy and protest against the co- 
ercion of men militants, women have an equal right to preach militancy 
and protest against the coercion of women militants. If men militants can 
hold meetings in Hyde Park, women militants will hold meetings in 
Hyde Park. 

Citizens of London! Come to Hyde Park next Simday to protest 
against the Government’s policy of refusing to give Fair Play and Free 
Speech to women. 

1914 — last year of militancy 269 

Quite a lengthy correspondence with Scotland Yard and the Office 
of Works ensued. Finally the prohibition took the form of refusing a 
permit to take a vehicle across the grass to serve as a platform. We 
objected to this. A steady platform such as a lorry was netful to assure 
the safety of speakers when a very large audience assembled, and we 
demanded the facilities accorded to men militants speaking for Ulster. 

General Drummond and Miss Phyllis Ayrton were the speakers in 
Hyde Park and spoke from a lorry platform. In the end the police took 
possession of the platform and arrested Mrs. Drummond. ‘General 
Flora Drummond,’ said the W.S.P.U., ‘has been arrested in Hyde 
Park, under the very eyes of Mr. Arthur Balfour, Sir Edward Carson 
and Mr. Austen Chamberlain — ^militant leaders who were speaking 
in defence of a policy more violent and dangerous than that which 
General Drummond was seeking to uphold.’ 

To the younger post-war women, who cannot remember these 
days, it will seem difficult to believe in such discrimination. Mrs. Pank- 
hurst had made militancy and law-breaking for political ends posi- 
tively respectable and even fashionable. These men militants gained in 
consequence, not simply in immunity from prosecution, but also in 
the easy public acceptance of their militant words and ways, which 
that eminent lawyer, Sir Edward Carson, himself admitted had already 
far overnm the bounds of legality. Counsel’s opinion, that is the 
opinion of Sir Edward Carson himself, was that Carson the militant 
was a law-breaker, and liable to the same penalties as Mrs. Pankhurst. 

Mrs. Pankhurst, in her motherly and leaderly way, was acutely 
distressed by the forcible feeding of her followers. She publicly chal- 
lenged the Government to cease the forced feeding of her fellow 
prisoners or forcibly to feed her. They did not forcibly feed her — for 
their one great fear, as appears from Lord Crewe’s statement in the 
House of Lords and from the disclosures in the late Lord Riddell’s 
Diary, was that Mother would die in prison. Her death, they believed, 
would be visited upon themselves and her restraining influence would 
be no more. 

Mother was too ill to go to Lowestoft to address a mass meeting 
an^nged by the W.S.P.U. to coincide with the conference of the 
National Union of Teachers. Annie Kenney resolved to represent her. 
How could she get there, with detectives constantly watching the 



house in Campden Hill Square, like ‘cats' at a ‘mouse-hole’? Neigh- 
bours were friendly. In a black bathing-suit, black cap, stockings, long 
gloves* and a mask, Annie crept at midnight from ‘Mouse Castle’, 
climbed a wall into the neighbour’s garden and entered their house. 
Next morning, well disguised, she drove away with members of the 
family. Changing from cab to cab, she broke all clues and drove by 
night to Lowestoft. In fresh disguise, and leading by the hand another 
Suffragette, dressed as a schoolgirl, she entered the Lowestoft Hippo- 
drome, where teachers from all over the country were assembling. The 
police were at the doors, looking for Mother who, according to orders, 
was to be arrested before she could speak. Annie slipped into the 
speakers’ room, removed her coat, changed her hat, and was ready 
for the platform! The great gathering of teachers was afire with 
enthusiasm, when they found that one of the Suffragette mice had 
thus foiled the Government cat. Cheers for Mrs. Pankhurst, cheers 
for Annie Kenney, ‘raised the roof’. Annie spoke. Then, while the 
meeting was still in progress and the chairman. Lady Isabel Margesson, 
was saying a closing word, she slipped behind the scenes and passed 
out of the hall amid the dispersing crowd and was safely away. 

Ubiquity, thy name is Suffragette! Our women were everywhere. 
They were at every public gathering, political or otherwise, calling 
upon the citizens of every sort and degree to remember votes for 
women and rescue from coercion the women rightly struggling to be 
politically free. Theatres and restaurants were visited by Suffragettes, 
with printed leaflets. Picture galleries, museums, and historic buildings 
were as far as possible shut and Americans and visitors from the 
Dominions, desiring to see art treasures and historic buildings, found 
this impossible ‘because of the Suffragettes’. This was wonderful pro- 
paganda, for it made the disappointed sightseers think more deeply 
than before on the matter of votes for women. Often do I meet smiling 
persons who say: ‘I remember those days, when I could not visit this 
or that gallery.’ The memory of it makes them feel that they too had 
a part in making history. So they had! Their protests at the time meant 
all the more pressure brought to bear on the Liberal Government. 

‘I am not particularly anxious to see her,’ were the words of a 
magistrate when informed that an accused Suffragette was missing and 
would not appear for trial. Judges and magistrates were getting very 
tired of trying and sentencing Suffragettes. They hated the whole 
thing. They had endeavoured to persuade and compel the women to 

1914 — last year of militancy 171 

give in and they had failed. Xheir only remaining hope was that the 
Government would give in. The judges and magistrates were be- 
coming more and more a force on our side. 

Gun-running was the next sensation. Not Suffragette gun-running, 
for we utterly disapproved of guns as political arguments, but Ulster 

The papers were full of it. The whole country rang with it. Ques- 
tions in Parliament asked: ‘What steps do the Government propose 
to take?’ 

‘In view of this grave and unprecedented outrage, the House may 
be assured that His Majesty’s Government will take without delay 
appropriate steps to vindicate the authority of the law,’ said the Prime 
Minister gravely and sternly. But he meant not a word of it. His ‘steps’ 
and ‘vindication of the law’ were only for women. 

The Treason Felony Act had been broken by Sir Edward Carson, 
insisted another member of the Government, Mr. Winston Churchill — 
but Sir Edward Carson remained perfealy free to commit treason and 

The influential Liberal organ, the Westminster Gaiette, admitted 
that the Unionist Party’s militant Ulster doctrine was ‘on all fours 
with Mrs. Pankhurst’s’. Another Liberal newspaper, the Daily 
Chronicle^ said; ‘The Carsonites have already done things for which 
ordinary persons receive sentences of hard labour or penal servitude. 
... It is not a spirit of pedantry that resents the glaring difference 
between the treatment of them and other less privileged offenders.’ 

A Unionist call for justice and fair play was heard when Lord 
Willoughby de Brooke, in the House of Lords, laid the blame of 
Suffragette militancy upon the shoulders of the Government, whose 
treatment of the women was, he said, lowering our country in the eyes 
of the world, and urged the Unionist Party to take up the cause of 
votes for women. Lord Lytton and the Bishop of London supported 
him. The last named proclaimed himself a convert to votes for women 
and said that he could not understand how diose who sympathized 
with Ulster’s opposition to Home Rule could refuse their sympathy 
to women’s opposition to disfranchisement. 

PuncA published a cartoon showing the Royal Academy pictures 
on the line totally obscured by rows of police, an allusion to militant 
attentions to the portrait of the Duke of Wellington who, having had 
his windows broken in the cause of votes for men some eighty years 



before, now had his portrait madced in the cause of votes for women. 

Mrs. Pankhurst’s message regarding the deputation to the King 
was now published. 

On the 2ist of May [it ran] a deputation of members of the W.S.P.U, 
will wait upon His Majesty the King in order to lay before him reasons 
why he should assist his womens subjects in their struggle for political 

The right to petition the reigning monarch is the oldest of all political 
rights. It is the only political right that women have in Great Britain. 

We who now intend to exercise it, do so because the needs of women 
are very urgent and the welfare of our country depends upon the immedi- 
ate granting of our demands for enfranchisement. 

May the spirit that animated those who fought for liberty in the 
past, animate us with courage to do our duty. . . . 


The Prime Minister was asked in the House of Commons by a 
Liberal Member, Mr. Pratt, whether, in view of the decision of the 
Government not to take criminal proceedings against the persons in- 
volved in the recent illegal importation of arms into Ulster, a similar 
attitude is not to be adopted towards women charged with lawlessness 
in pursuit of political ends. The Prime Minister did not think the two 
cases were parallel! 

For breaking a shop window Sylvia was sentenced to two months’ 
imprisonment and, with her fellow prisoner, Zelie Emerson, was 
forcibly fed after a hunger-and-thirst-strike. Sylvia’s accoimt of her 
experience was published in the Press on her release after several days. 
She told of the steel gag that cut her mouth, of the half-dozen ward- 
resses that held her down, of the two doctors who performed the tor- 
turing process of forcible feeding, of the retching and sickness, of her 
twenty-eight-hours’ continuous pacing of her cell, that she might the 
sooner defeat the Government’s purpose. Publicly, the Government 
would not admit the case, she stated; privately, the Home Secretary 
admitted her immense courage. Sylvia was not ^ain forcibly fed, but 
like Mother, Annie Kenney, and some others, she was made subject to 
many re-arrests under the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act, Forcible feeding, how- 
ever, continued in other cases and did not cease until the Great War 
had b^un. 

General Dnunmond and Mrs. Dacre Fox were arrested, one on 

Funeral of Emily Wilding Davi 

Mrs, Pankhurst’s statue in Victoria Tower Gardens 

1914— last year of militancy 273 

the doorstep of Lord Lansdowne and the other on the doorstep of 
Sir Edward Carson, whither they had gone to seek advice and pro- 
tection from these fellow militants. 

1 have come to take refuge with you, as you yourself have de- 
livered several speeches endorsing and inciting to violent resistance to 
Home Rule and yet the Government do not attack you. I am confident, 
therefore, that under your roof I shall have the same immunity from 
arrest and imprisonment that you yourself enjoy.' So wrote Mrs. 
Dacre Fox to Lord Lansdowne. He replied that it was impossible for 
him to allow her to take refuge in his house, in which, moreover, she 
would still be within reach of the law. To Sir Edward Carson, Mrs. 
Drummond wrote; 

The Government are trying to find me and send me to prison for 
delivering what they say are inciting speeches. You yourself have de- 
livered inciting speeches on the question of Ulster and violent resistance 
to Home Rule. Yet I notice that the Government do not attack you. I 
have therefore come, accompanied by friends, to consult with you as to 
how I, like yourself, may secure immunity from arrest and imprison- 
ment. I shall be glad if you will have me admitted at once, as at any 
moment I may be arrested on your doorstep. I am sure that you as a 
militant will have every wish to protect another militant. . . . 

Before the magistrate, she and her fellow prisoners read copiously 
from the speeches of Lord Lansdowne, Sir Edward Carson, and their 
colleagues. They claimed the same freedom from imprisonment, but 
they were sentenced and sent to prison. After a hunger-strike of seven 
days they were released. Though the General was very ill, she gallantly 
went to the Home Secretary's home and remained on his doorstep. 
There she was arrested for obstruction. Release was offered to her, 
until she made it clear that she intended to return to the Home Secre- 
tary's house, whereupon she was detained all night. In the morning 
pleurisy was diagnosed, and so her light was suspended. 

A cheering event was the defeat of the Government in the by- 
election at Ipswich. A serious case of forcible feeding was occurring 
in the local gaol, the women who were the victims of this torture being 
on renland and unconvicted of any offence. The Suffragette campaign 
in the constituency was highly effectual and the electors of Ipswich 
censured the Government by defeating their nominee. Mr. Lloyd 



George, speaking for the Liberal candidate, described Mrs. Pankhurst 
and Mr. Bonar Law as the two anarchist leaders in the country, each 
of them defying all authority and pursuing a lawless policy. But he did 
not explain why his Government did not treat them in the same way! 

Sanctuary was sought with the Archbishop of Canterbiury, Dr. 
Davidson, by Annie Kenney, who drove to Lambeth Palace and asked 
the Archbishop to shelter her from arrest. She obtained entrance, re- 
mained there for several hours, until the police arrived, demanded 
admission, and took her back to prison under the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act. 

Deputation day arrived. The deputation, including women from 
all parts of the coimtry, with Mrs. Pankhurst at their head, proceeded 
to Buckiitgham Palace to seek an audience of the King. The Govern- 
ment barred their way. The police were there in numbers, reminiscent 
of, but even stronger than, the guard that had kept such deputations 
from entering the House of Commons. Many of the women were 
stopped as far from the Palace as the Wellington Arch, and when 
they tried to force the gates they were, according to newspaper re- 
port, ‘shown no mercy’. Mother with some others managed to slip 
through the gates just as they were slowly closing and so she reached 
the Palace, only to have her deputation broken up and to be herself 
arrested and taken direct to Holloway. 

In Paris my telephone rang. I listened. A small, far-away, childish 
voice said: ‘We’re raided.’ It was our youngest office girl.* The police 
in hundreds had swarmed into Lincoln’s Inn House, and the small 
office girl had quietly rung me up to give me the news. Our head- 
quarters were swept clear and the police held possession. Grace Roe 
was arrested. The Government had made this new, desperate attempt 
to wreck the W.S.P.U. We were ready for them; the good ship righted 
herself and sailed on. The Union removed to temporary quarters in 
Tothill Street, conveniently near Downing Street and the House 
of Commons! Our paper came out as usual, merely reduced in size 
for one number — the office routine and all business continued. Grace 
Roe’s successor, long since appointed and ready, entered upon her 
duties as chief organizer. But this time the Government did not know 
and possibly never learnt who that successor was. They could not have 
found her if they had known her. She did not appear in the office; she 

1 Esther Knowles, later my personal private secretary tmtil her retirement in 1959* 

1914 — last year of militancy 


lived secluded and disguised. But her authority and control, as my 
representative, were complete. 

We took the raid with more than calmness. ‘A raid on the W.S.P.U. 
is becoming an annual event,’ we remarked. ‘This, like the former 
raids, is simply an attempt on the part of the Government to gain time 
and postpone a little longer their inevitable surrender. The spirit of 
the Union is so strong that no attack upon its body can cause injury.’ 
Annie Kenney and Grace Roe, in turn, had laid such solid foundations, 
and their successor, the third in the line of the Exile’s magnificent 
agents, was so able for her onerous and perilous task, that the Union 
and the cause could not be shattered. 

An invaluable aid at this critical time was Mrs. Mansel. The 
Government were so resolved to break the movement that our 
speakers, who were regularly declaring W.S.P.U. policy at big 
central meetings in London, were continually liable to arrest. Happily 
Mrs. Mansel was that rare avis, a Suffragette, as completely immune 
from arrest as Sir Edward Carson and Mr. Bonar Law! She was a 
cousin of the chief Liberal Whip! The Liberal leaders would not, it 
seemed, ‘Cat and Mouse’ their own relations. So much the better, be- 
cause it meant that Mrs. Mansel could and did preside at the weekly 
At Homes, and could and did go from London to Paris as the living 
link between the commander in exile and the chief organizer in 
London. Hoping that blood would continue to be politically thicker 
than water, we thankfully profited by Mrs. Mansel’s formnate kinship. 

Another raid was surely coming, I thought, and quickly. The 
Government would not wait another year to strike again. Yet I too 
believed that the victorious end of our fight was very near. The Bishop 
of London’'S speech against forcible feeding and other such utterances 
had morally defeated the Government and the Cabinet Ministers' 
election defeat at Ipswich was the writing on the wall. Mother could 
not be kept much longer under ‘Cat and Mouse’ coercion, being 
arrested and re-arrested over and over again: no one’s health could 
stand it and she was not, as were many of her brave fellow sufferers, a 
young woman. The Government could not face the country at another 
election on coercion for women, especially since the Ulster gun- 
running had shown up the flagrant difference between their treatment 
of women and their treatment of men. If Mother died under their hand, 
as she would if they ma int ain ed their fight against her, it would mean 
political disaster to the Liberal Party. The King had been brought into 



the controversy now. The Government could not go on involving 
the Throne in their fight against women. 

The Liberal Government were at bay. Mother had conquered, 
surrender was inevitable and it was near — unless at the last hour they 
could break our will. I believed that they would make one more effort 
and that soon. Therefore from the moment I heard that distant little 
voice ‘We’re raided’, I did not again leave my flat but remained indoors 

Mother had been released in a serious condition after a hunger- 
strike following upon her arrest at the gates of Buckingham Palace. 
Annie, after her release, had returned to Lambeth Palace and lay on 
the cobble-stones outside the closed gate until the police removed her. 

Now began the Conspiracy Trial of Grace Roe, Nellie Hall, and 
four others arrested in the raid. The prosecution centred their attention 
upon the first two who were refused bail, and were, when they took 
to the hunger-strike, subjected to forcible feeding, even while on re- 
mand and unconvicted. ‘Unless you have been forcibly fed you can 
have no idea what the suffering is,’ Nellie Hall said to the magistrate, 
‘and people are supposed to be innocent until they are proved guilty.’ 

Many others were being tried and imprisoned in London and else- 
where. Repression was more drastic than ever. Those prisoners who 
were under forcible feeding began to report their suspicion that they 
were being given sedatives to dull their power of resistance, and 
medical authorities to whom they appealed sustained their contention, 
in spite of official denials. 

How to stop militancy was now everybody’s urgent question; 
exactly the situation we had hoped for and worked to create! 

The Times thundered that something must be done to stop this 
women’s militancy which was ‘placing the British people on their trial 
in the eyes of nations'. Deportation The Times rejected as impractic- 
able and futile. 

Even making subscribers pay for militant damage to property, 
were it possible, would not avail because ‘the fanaticism of some of the 
women concerned is above pecuniary considerations’. 

The plan of making the Union funds liable to confiscation (if they 
could have been found) was also deprecated by The Times, for it 
‘would require an Act of Parliament and some rather delicate dis- 

1914 — last year of militancy 277 

criminations’. The ‘Cat and Mouse’ Art ‘made an absurd position’ and 
forcible feeding was ‘an odious expedient’- The remedy favoured by 
The Turns was this: Let the militant women starve to death in prison! 
This would obviate all violence and ‘is not an attack on their mis- 
guided persons, but on the contrary leaves them free to do as they 

The Government knew, if The Times did not, that women would 
choose to die in prison and would even prefer that course to being 
gradually but inevitably done to death under prolonged ‘Cat and Mouse’ 
treatment aggravated in some cases by forcible feeding. 

Nevertheless, The Times had really signalled the approaching 
victorious end of our war. It had repudiated the Liberal Government’s 
coercion methods and made them impossible of adoption by the 
next Conservative Government. The Times had also proclaimed to 
the nation and to the world that the only alternative to votes for 
women was death for the advocates of votes for women. 

Victory was in the air. Meanwhile, there was grave danger to those 
women who, being prisoners, were suffering the bitterest and most 
cruel last phase of the Government’s resistance to our just demand. 

A deputation to the King did enter Buckingham Palace after all 
and the King heard our petition. The deputation consisted of one girl, 
Mary Blomfield, daughter of Sir Arthur Blomfield, a friend in his day 
of King Edward, and grand-daughter of a Bishop of London. As Mary 
Blomfield, at her presentation at Court, came before the King, she 
dropped on her knee, with her sister Eleanor standing by her, and in 
a clear voice claimed votes for women and pleaded: ‘Your Majesty, 
stop forcible feeding.’ 

A great W.S.P.U. meeting was now planned, at which a large fund 
was to be raised. The prisoners, already paying so dearly for the vote 
in suffering, were giving money too, and one ‘Cat and Mouse’ prisoner 
promised £500. This meeting and this fund would confirm the state- 
ment of the Home Secretary that the numbers and influence of those 
who approved the militant movement of the W.S.P.U. were so great 
as to ‘make the ordinary administration of the .law comparatively im- 
possible’. The large sums announced at the meetings we held in those 
militant days included both money given since the last meeting and 
subscriptions especially given for the occasion. The total was impres- 
sive to the enemy and eloquent of the strength of otir Union. More- 
over, money was indeed needed in large amounts to finance a work so 



vast and varied, especially in the two final years of strongest militancy. 
We had very high rent and rates to pay for Lincoln’s Inn House, and 
its upkeep was costly. A weekly paper was another expensive, though 
necessary, factor in our work, and all the more expensive because of 
the Government’s repeated attacks on it which were costly to frus- 
trate. Printed in Scotland, it was at last secure, but what an extra 
expense to have the editorial and other work done so far away! We 
had really five head offices in this latter stage: Lincoln’s Inn House, 
‘Mouse Castle’, the Paris stronghold, and the editorial quarters in 
Edinburgh, besides the unknown quarters in London of the chief 
organizer. Journeys to and fro between Paris and London were an- 
other, though again vitally necessary, expense; several journeys a 
week were sometimes required. Postage and stationery and miscel- 
laneous printing were a big matter. In the ‘Cat and Mouse’ time very 
many escapes had to be arranged, cars having to be hired and driven 
long distances. A large London hall or theatre was hired once every 
week, for the At Home, to which admission was without charge. All 
the same, the campaign could easily have cost far more than it did. 
Best of all, it was victorious. Subscribers to the W.S.P.U. got their 
money’s worth! 

We were all startled by the news that the Coronation Chair had 
been slightly splintered by an explosion. This was the answer of one 
militant to the ‘odious expedient’ of forcible feeding, as applied to her 
fellow Suffragettes in prison. News of her act reached the House of 
Commons while the Home Secretary was, as one Parliamentary 
correspondent said, ‘actually defending his policy in relation to the 
militant Suffragists’, and it was regarded in the House as ‘an ironic 
commentary’ upon Mr. McKenna’s claim that this treatment of the 
militants was proving ‘successful’. The responsibility for this and 
every other militant act we laid wholly upon the Government. 

A long discussion upon the Government’s attempted solution of 
the militant problem occurred in the debate on the Home Office esti- 
mates. ‘We ^ve to deal with a phenomenon which I believe is abso- 
lutely without precedent in our history,’ said the Home Secretary. 
The number of women who sympathized with those who committed 
militant acts was, said he, ‘extremely large’, and one of the difficulties 
of the selection was this warm and widespread sympathy which made 
it ‘comparatively impossible’ to suppress militancy by process of 

1914 — last year of militancy 


The Home Secretary discussed four alternative ways of ‘dealing 
with the Suffragettes’ suggested to him in the ‘unlimited correspond- 
ence’ he was receiving. The first was ‘let them die’, the second was 
‘deport them’, the third was to ‘treat them as lunatics’, the fourth was 
to ‘give them the franchise’. Mr. McKenna rejected all four. He 
thought, and so did a medical expert who knew the Suffragettes, that 
they would be willing to die. His medical adviser’s words were read 
in the House of Commons. ‘I am of opinion,’ said this doctor, ‘and 
my opinion is borne out by statements of some of the prisoners, that 
they believe it would help their cause if a Suffragette died in prison.’ 

‘They had indeed proved their readiness to die,’ said Mr. McKenna, 
‘and they would certainly die.’ He could not speak in admiration of 
them, but he admitted their ‘courage that stands at nothing’. He could 
not legally send them out of the country, and if he deported them to 
the Isle of St. Kilda, unless it were made a prison, ‘the wealthy sup- 
porters of the militant movement would very quickly fit out a yacht 
and take them away’. If it were made a prison the women would 
hunger-and-thirst-strike there as much as in Holloway. To treat them 
as lunatics would be illegal, for the Suffragettes were not lunatics, and 
could not be certified as such. ‘There remains,’ he said, ‘the last pro- 
posal, that we should give them the vote,’ but as Home Secretary he 
was ‘not responsible for the state of the franchise’. 

Mr. McKenna then threatened the subscribers to our funds. ‘If we 
can succeed against them,’ he said, ‘we will spare no pains in regard 
to the action, and if the action is successful I think we shall see the 
last of the power of Mrs. Pankhurst and her friends.’ 

Never could militancy have been conquered by a financial attack. 
If rich subscribers had been terrorized, as Mr. McKenna proposed and 
hoped, our women would have sustained one another and would have 
continued the fight. It did not cost much money to commit a militant 
deed, it did not cost much money to do a hunger-and-thirst-strike or 
to be forcibly fed. Money was most useful, and it gave added prestige 
in the eyes of the world, but it was not of the essence nor the condition 
of our victory. 

Anyhow, Mr. McKenna’s threat of financial coercion failed, as did 
all the other threats and weapons forged against us. When the great 
meeting came, our subscribers rallied as before. Mrs. D. A. Thomas 
(later Viscountess Rhondda), the Misses Ellen and Edith Beck, Miss 
J anie Allen and all the host of wealthy and less wealthy and not wealthy 

28 o 


subscribers, sent in their promises as before, and more than before. 
‘The power of Mrs. Pankhurst and her friends’ proved ^«ater than 

‘As long as their health will stand itl’ We marked the Govern- 
ment’s admission regarding forcible feeding, and we pointed out that 
already seven women had been thus treated before conviction of any 
offence, and while they were, according to the law of the land, pre- 
sumed innocent. 

We challenged Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament to 
see with their own eyes a case of forcible feeding. ‘After they have 
seen this horror,’ we said, ‘we shall know whether they are prepared 
to order its continuance.’ No one responded to the challenge. 

Two days after her attack of pleurisy Mrs. Drummond was re- 
arrested and became seriously ill. The women, whose forcible feeding 
in Ipswich Gaol had been condemned by the voters at the recent by- 
election, were now removed from Ipswich to Holloway Prison, where 
their forcible feeding was continued. The Government were still try- 
ing desperately to escape that 'fourth alternative* of giving women the 

The Prime Minister was now obliged to receive a Suffrage depu- 
tation of East End women, because Sylvia, released from Holloway 
after a hunger-strike, went to the House of Commons and announced 
that she would remain outside the House without food unless and until 
he did so. He agreed to receive the deputation and Sylvia went away. 
When in due course the working women’s deputation told him their 
need of the vote, Mr. Asquith expressed in affable tone his interest in 
their words. ‘If you are going to give a franchise measure to women,’ he 
said, ‘make it a democratic measure.’ He further said that he should be 
very glad to speak to the Home Secretary about the case of Sylvia and 
Mrs. Walker, her fellow prisoner, and their possible unconditional re- 
lease from prison and from the operation of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act. 

‘If us no ifs,’ was the W.S.P.U. comment on Mr. Asquith’s latest 
words when we heard the report of them. ‘Everybody knows and 
none better than Mr. Asquith that women are going to get the vote. 
What women want to hear from Mr. Asquith is not “if” but “when”.’ 

‘In the next Parliament’ was the answer some were suggesting for 
our acceptance. It was the old postponing talk. ‘We know,’ was our 

1914 — last year of militancy 281 

reply, ‘that the next Parliament, like tomorrow, never comes.’ The next 
General Election, however, was getting nearer. Votes for women was 
‘in the swim’ as it had never been before. The stronger militancy was 
making its impression all over the country, and nothing could stop it 
unless the W.S.P.U. and the Government came to terms. If the Suffra- 
gettes could be pacified by a pledge for next Parliament, militancy 
would cease; the coercion of women would be dropped and public 
indignation would not recoil upon the Liberal Government. Votes 
for women would recede into the political backwater and if one post- 
dated pledge could keep the militants quiet now, other post-dated 
pledges might be substituted for it later on. Such is party politics 
and we knew it, so we adhered firmly to the demand for Votes for 
Women, not next Parliament but in this Parliament. 

We actually did get the vote in that Parliament — for there was 
never another General Election in which women did not vote! 

A big scared lion chased by a small mouse with its tail up and 
a label tied on the tip, marked ‘Militancy!’ That is how an American 
cartoonist saw the British scene in those days. 

‘Mrs. Pankhurst will speak,’ we announced, ‘at the great meeting 
on i6th July.’ The ‘Cat and Mouse’ system was in full force. Our 
speakers were being mown down by prosecutions for incitement. 
Mrs. Mansel’s immunity from arrest grew all the more precious. Might 
the bond of Liberal kinship never break! 

Mother, after a time of recuperation and a quiet visit to Paris, 
returned to London and in a letter to The Times stated that she would 
return to Lincoln’s Inn House (now restored to our occupation) and 
resume her activities in the cause of votes for women. The public 
gathered. Mother arrived on foot, and was about to enter Lincoln’s 
Inn House when she was arrested. 

Mother had calculated that she would, as her strength was so 
greatly reduced by previous imprisonments, be released after seven 
days’ hunger-strike, and would therefore be free to attend the meeting 
on i6th July, even though she must be carried to the platform. The 
Government planned otherwise. They released her after three days’ 
himger-and-strike-thirst, and on a four-days’ licence, making her 
liable to re-arrest one day before the meeting. A medical report of her 
condition signed by Dr. Flora Murray reported that ‘during three 
days in prison, Mrs. Pankhurst has lost about a stone in weight. She 
suffered greatly from nausea and gastric disturbance and was released 



in a toxic condition with a high temperature and very intermittent 
pulse. She is nervously shocked by all she has been through and 
unable to sleep properly, her rest is disturbed by dreams and neuralgic 
pains. Her condition of extreme weakness makes those around her 
very anxious.' 

Mother’s letter to The Times contained passages requiring con- 
sideration. She pointed out that the Home Secretary had used his 
power under the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act with the utmost rigour, and, 
having realized its ineffectiveness as a weapon of coercion, was now 
forcibly feeding even some of those who were as yet untried and 
therefore presumably innocent of all offence. ‘Among these untried 
prisoners,’ she continued, ‘are women charged with the crimes of “in- 
citement” and “conspiracy”, which Sir Edward Carson and his asso- 
ciates are openly and avowedly committing daily and for which I was 
sentenced little more than a year ago to three years’ penal servitude. 
Since my sentence I have been eight times released after hunger-and- 
thirst strikes, because I was in danger of death. I am now at liberty and 
could, if I so desired, altogether escape further imprisonment.’ Mother, 
in expressing her resolve to continue her campaign until victory, chal- 
lenged the Government not only to re-arrest her, but to apply to her 
the treatment of forcible feeding that was used in the case of her 
friends. She said; ‘The Government must either obtain the consent of 
women to legislate and to the administration of the laws by giving 
them the Parliamentary vote, or they must give us death.’ 

‘Negotiation!’ was now the lure. ‘A negotiation stage must come,’ 
we were assured. ‘It has goneV we replied. 

Joan of Arc when asked once, in the full tide of her warfare for 
the liberty of France: ‘Will you negotiate with the enemy.^’ replied: 
‘Yes — at the point of the sword.’ Her spiritual descendants, the Suffra- 
gettes, would no more be negotiated into surrender and compromise 
than would she! 

The great meeting, our first since the last raid, now occurred. The 
Government had been urging owners of public halls throughout the 
country not to let them to us though, of course, they took no such 
move to silence the Ulster gun-runners. However, as usual, the 
Suffragettes won the day and secured the use of the Holland Park Hall 
with its vast seating capacity. It was crowded to the doors. Mother’s 
presence was hoped for. Her four-days’ ‘Cat and Mouse’ licence ex- 
pired <me day before the meeting. To face the dazzling li^ts, the great 

1914 — last year of militancy 283 

audience, only five days after her prison sufferir^ would be hard, but 
she resolved to be there if she could. Detectives besieged the nursing 
home, there could be no escape for her if she came out, unless the 
Government should at the last moment forbear and leave her in peace. 

Dense crowds filled the street to see Mother leave the house and 
drive to the meeting. An ambulance slowly pushed its way through, a 
stretcher was lifted out. In a few moments Mother, lying on the 
stretcher, was carried out, surrounded by a group of clergymen, and 
men and women doctors. A witness of the scene wrote: ‘TTfirough all 
Mrs. Pankhurst’s self-control there was clearly shown the strain of her 
past ordeals. Her face appeared dead white against the black dress she 
wore, her eyes were bright and feverish.’ The police seized control of 
the ambulance and surrounded it, forced back Mother’s supporters, 
forbidding even her nurse to accompany her, and drove her to prison. 
This was the news received by the waiting thousands of women. 
Mother, only too surely expecting arrest, had written these words for 
them: ‘The Government have silenced my voice, but there are silences 
more eloquent than words. I say to you, that we shall win the fight.’ 

‘I have solemn news to give you, although you will know it 
already when you see me here in the place where our leader should 
have stood,’ said Mrs. Mansel, presiding at the meeting. ‘Mrs. Pank- 
hurst has been re-arrested. I believe that there is not a heart in this 
audience, however new to this movement, that is not stirred at this 
outrage of arresting, twice within eight days, the great leader and 
illuminator of women in their fight for emancipation. No greater 
incitement to militancy has there yet been. 

‘Something has been said about our Union being “underground”. 
Does this meeting look as though we were underground.^ We are 
underground, and overground, and everywhere.’ 

The resolution expressed indignation at the unequal treatment 
meted out to militant women on the one hand, and to militant Union- 
ists on the other, and horror at the forcible feeding and other forms of 
torture which were the Liberal Government’s chosen alternative to 
votes for women, and declared that failing the vote, militant women 
determined to have if not peace with honour, then war with honour, 
and to pursue their fight till victory. 

Mrs. Tuke had arrived from Paris bringing my mess^es from exile. 
Annie Kenney, cleveriy disguised, had passed through the police 
guard and appeared on the platform to the enthusiasm of the audience, 



and in the midst of all, another prisoner, Mrs. Dacre Fox, appeared. 
The greatest of all W.S.P.U. collections was made, amoimting to more 
than £ij,ooo in gifts and promises. What a magnificent reply to the 
Government’s threats against subscribers! 

That night there was a strange sense of significance in the meeting 
and a feeling of imminent victory. The author, I. A. R. Wylie, herself 
a Suffragette, wrote: ‘I have wimessed the last three W.S.P.U. demon- 
strations and shared unreservedly the impression of my companions 
that this last was by far the most brilliant, the most inspired by the 
consciousness of victory. There seemed to me a new hope and vigour 
everywhere. The steel had been more finely tempered. . . .’ 

The Forcible Feeding Protest Committee, formed by medical men, 
appointed a deputation consisting of Dr. McIntosh, Dr. McLachlan, 
Dr. Haden Guest, Sir Victor Horsley, Mr. C. Mansell-Moullin, Mr, 
David Moxon and Dr. Schutze to interview the Home Secretary. 

On the point of publicity, the plan for an interview broke down, 
but the deputation issued a series of statements. 

The Government at this point invoked the King’s help in the Irish 
difficulty and asked him to receive the militant men, Mr. Bonar Law, 
Sir Edward Carson, and Captain Craig, as well as Mr. Redmond and 
Mr. John Dillon, who had now become responsible for arming and 
drilling a Volunteer Force which the Lord Chancellor declared to be 
‘a gross illegality’. Buckingham Palace was the scene of an Irish 
Conference convened by the King. 

Mother had initiated this idea by asking for Royal intervention in 
the matter of Votes for Women. The Government had thwarted her 
and had had her and her companions arrested and imprisoned. They 
then adopted her idea and adapted it to their own purpose. Mother 
again wrote to the King, setting forth that while her deputation had 
been denied an audience, men militants, Ulstermen and Irish National- 
ists, were being received though their illegal plans and performances 
were threatening human life. She respectfully pointed out that the 
suffrage militancy came fully within the scope of the very words which 
the King had used regarding the Irish situation. 

‘The trend of events in Ireland has been surely and steadily towards 
an appeal of force and today the cry of Civil War is on the lips of the 
most responsible and sober-minded of my people.’ Mother added: ‘I 
would call Your Majesty to wimess that equally responsible and sober- 
minded and public-spirited are these women who have resorted to 

19*4 — last year of militancy 285 

militant methods, because they have found by experience that all other 
methods of winning them their just right to vote are ineffectual.’ 

Mother awaited a return of a little strength before taking the next 
step. We felt that the King’s sympathetic reference to the militancy of 
men in Ireland should render impossible the repetition of the arrests 
that occurred when she and her deputation had sought an audience 

Never again could the Government tell Mrs. Pankhurst that her 
loyal plea for a personal audience was unreasonable and uncon- 

The Conspiracy Trial ended. Grace Roe and Nellie Hall were each 
sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. They had already been 
many weeks in prison under forcible feeding, each week equal, in 
Mr. McKenna’s reckoning, to two or three months’ ordinary imprison- 
ment! ‘You stand convicted as felons,’ was the judge’s word to them. 
That was the bitter thing, to be felons when they sought political free- 
dom. Others, no less felons, women said, were invited, because of their 
very felony, to the King’s palace while these two girls were sent to 

Grace Roe had called Mary Richardson from prison as a wimess. 
‘I want to know why Mary Richardson cries out so, when she is forcibly 
fed,’ she asked, and this drew from the wimess the account of her 
sufferings. Nellie Hall, in addressing the jury, moved near to them so 
that her weakened voice could be heard: ‘I will use the description of 
Mary Richardson, for it fits my case as well. Wardresses and doctors 
go from cell to cell and the cries and moans of our friends come to us. It 
is almost worse than the feeding itself; you cannot imagine the utter 
hopelessness of waiting in the tiny cell and when at last the little army 
stops at my door, the horrible feeling that goes through me at the 
sound of the key in the lock. It is enough to ruin the nerves of the 
strongest of us.’ Then she described the pain and the choking and the 
vomiting. ‘All this pain is inflicted upon us,’ she said, ‘because we want 
the power to help to make the world a better place to live in.’ 

The judge in summing up commented on Miss Hall’s undoubted 
ability and the extraordinary astuteness of her cross-examination. 
Grace Roe, in defending herself, said: ‘Do you realize what you are 
doing.^ You can’t stop militancy by these trials and by torturing 
women. Every one of you jurymen is an elector. Are you going to let 
this go on.^*’ 



Grace and her fellow prisoner were taken back to prison and their 
suffering, consoled only by the knowledge that militancy was going 
forward, carrying the cause to certain and speedy victory. 

Suffragette activity was at its greatest height. In the prisons, in the 
Courts, heroic women were fighting; militants roved the country sup- 
plyii^ the Government with the force majeure, and more serious 
militancy which Cabinet Ministers had challenged them to supply. 
Meetings, theatres, restaurants were the scene of numberless protests. 
The archbishops, bishops, and all clergy were interviewed, as were 
Members of Parliament on every possible occasion. Public meetings 
were held on a large scale. A far-flimg and intense propaganda of word 
and deed was daily and hourly increasing. Suffragettes were every- 
where, in everything, constantly surpassing themselves in service and 

The Government still braved it out; but a fatal day of political 
reckoning was awaiting them, if they delayed justice so long, at the 
General Election. After nearly nine years of unceasing and increasing 
militancy the women were winning. They knew no fear and the 
Government were getting very much afraid — of the loss of votes at 
the election and still more afraid of the women themselves. 

‘The worst fight on record since the movement began is now 
raging in Holloway,’ wrote Mary Richardson, when she was released 
after a long spell of forcible feeding to be operated on for appendicitis. 
She had been in the next cell to Grace Roe and knew what she and her 
fellow prisoners had suffered. It was true. The war between the 
Government and women had come to the climax — there had begun 
the ‘last half-hour’ that decides the victory in every war! 

Then, suddenly, the other war broke out! 


The Years of Women’s Armistice 

The Nation at War — The WS.P.U. supports the Government — 
Votes for women at last! 

I N Paris the march of an advancing army caused the ground 
already, as it were, to shake. 

I was alone, having sent my secretary to London with copy 
for the paper and other messages. Mother was to cross from England 
to St. Malo, where I was to join her. Paris was empty of everyone I 
knew, shuttered and dust-sheeted for the summer and left to the 
concierges and tourists. I could share my thoughts with no one, beyond 
speaking a word of sympathy with my maid and the tradespeople. 

Dwelling there for over two years, indebted to my refuge there 
for the survival of our W.S.P.U., I felt for France a personal concern, 
almost as for my own country. 

As yet Great Britain was not involved, but was not likely to be 

How would our fight for votes be affected? 

I telephoned to London to report my departure for Brittany to 
meet Mother — probably among the last unofficial calls put through to 
England before they were suspended for the war. Papers collected, 
suitcases packed, I left my apartment and went into the outer world 
for the first time since the raid two months before. I could dare now 
to end my vigil and self-imprisonment, for surely the Government 
would be too much occupied with the war crisis to raid the Women's 
Social and Political Union in London! 

During all the long, delayed journey, I was trying to see into the 
heart and centre of this great war storm and what, in this time of 
supreme peril for our country, it was right for us to do. How could we 
best conserve the inter^ts of women and votes for women? The fruits 
of nearly nine years of immense effort, with all the sacrifice and suffer- 




ing of our Suffragettes, must not be lost. This was a double blow to 
us, for when it came we were just on the point of Votes for Women 

Mother arrived. She had been through much since we last met and 
now, instead of the rest she needed, there was a world crisis to face and 
a grave decision to be made. 

War was the only course for our own country to take. This was 
national militancy. As Suffragettes we could not be pacifists at any price. 

Mother and I declared support of our country. We declared an 
armistice with the Government and suspended militancy for the 
duration of the war. We offered our service to the country and called 
upon all our members to do likewise. 

The cause of Votes for Women would be safe, provided our 
country and its constitution were preserved, for on the restoration 
of peace we should, if necessary, resume the pre-war campaign. To 
win votes for women a national victory was needed for, as Mother 
said, ‘What would be the good of a vote without a country to vote in!’ 

Astonishment was felt in some quarters at our wartime truce to 
militancy. How, it was asked, could we support a Government 
that had been torturing women and had opposed the women’s cause! 

The answer was that the country was our country. It belonged to 
us and not to the Government, and we had the right and privilege, as 
well as the duty, to serve and defend it. 

Mrs. Pankhurtt’s greatness was never more evident than in her 
instant grasp of the war issue, and the quickness of decision and 
strength of action with which, ill as she was, and after the strain of 
nine years’ concentration upon one absorbing cause, she announced 
and pursued her policy. The truce she declared for the duration of the 
war had undoubtedly a decisive influence in securing peace at home 
during war abroad. If the Suffragettes had continued their pre-war 
campaign during the war, others with a grievance might have followed 

The news of Mrs. Pankhurst’s armistice went far beyond her own 
country and especially to America, where she was known and loved 
by vast numbers. On the outbreak of war, I should have liked her to 
revisit America. The voyage would have rested her and she was not 
yet really equal, after her prison experience, to face the possible rigours 
of war. She, whom the Government imprisoned in her campaign for 
justice would now have returned to America to tell the American 


people that her country and its Government were fighting in a just 
cause. It would have been a great gesture. Yet she was urgently needed 
also at home. She began work here and her wartime visit to the United 
States and Canada was deferred. 

Mother seemed for the time to dismiss her ill-health in her ardour 
for the national cause. She spoke to Service men on the war front and 
to Service women on the home front. She called for wartime military 
conscription for men, believing that this was democratic and equitable, 
and that it would enable a more ordered and effective use of the 
nation’s man-power. She declared that the military situation impera- 
tively required the admission of women to munition factories and to 
many other unaccustomed forms of employment, to liberate men for 
the Front. She believed that a speedy increase of national effort in 
which men and women shared would shorten the war, reduce its cost 
in life and make victory more sure. 

Anticipating shortage due to war conditions, she early called for 
the rationing of food supplies and claimed that, since we were engaged 
in the greatest of wars, the nation should be at once put in all respects 
on a war footing. Our way in the Suffragette time had been to antici- 
pate and prepare for the biggest and worst difficulties, so that we might 
be equal to them if they came, and relieved if they did not come. 

Strong national leadership and unity of military command we 
urged, on the strength of our experience in the Suffrage campaign. 

We were constantly mindful of votes for women and watchful in 
case the war should end leaving a Suffrage agitation still necessary. 

A Paris stronghold was re-established which was useful in the 
meantime as a point of observation and information. 

Mrs. Pankhurst’s campaign to open the door for women’s war 
service was highly effectual. The munitions shortage and the need of 
man-power at the Front moved Mr. Lloyd George, as Minister of 
Munitions, to seek woman-power for the factories.^ Opposition from 
various sections of men, political and industrial, blocked the war. He 
therefore turned to Mrs. Pankhurst as the pioneer in women’s new 
and larger war service, and as the leader and inspirer of women claim- 
ing to help in the emergency. One day Mr. Lloyd George sent an 
emissary to her. Sir James Murray, m.p., a friend of his and a friend of 
the W.S.P.U. Mr. Lloyd George wanted to see Mrs. Pankhurst, to 

^ The Government had of course, in response to Mrs. Pankhurst’s action in suspending 
militancy, released all the Suffragette prisoners. 



ask her help in his difficulty. She hesitated, she felt it hard to go, after 
all that had passed before the war. But she went. Mr. Lloyd George 
told her his difficulty — men sacrificed at the Front for want of muni- 
tions, women excluded from the munition factories. He asked Mother 
to hold a great procession of women — ‘like those you used to have for 
the vote’ — a procession which would express and prove women’s 
willingness to enter the munition factories. Mother objected that their 
willingness, their demand, to do this was already proved. Yes, 
Mr. Lloyd George knew that, but the procession would create an 
atmosphere in which the men, who were his real difficulty, would be 
obliged to give way. Mother assented. The W.S.P.U. would repeat 
in a wartime procession the triumphs of Suffrage days. She would 
arrange for Annie Kenney and Grace Roe to discuss practical details 
with the Minister of Munitions. They did so. He was keen and alive 
about the whole thing. The procession was to end in a deputation to 
him as Minister of Munitions, to ask him to open the munition factories 
to women, which he was more than anxious to do. A very different 
deputation from the deputations of our Suffragette days! 

It was a big undertaking. This procession had to be large and im- 
pressive and also very quickly organized, for the need was urgent. A 
costly task, and we would not ask our devoted subscribers, who had 
already given so largely to the Suffrage cause, to meet the cost of this. 
The needed money was supplied^ and our organizers set to work, 
printing was put in hand, bands and banners ordered. 

Newspaper help was needed for the success of the procession, to 
tell the women of the invitation to join it. This help was generously 
given. Lord Northcliffe took a deep interest in the procession. An 
anti-Suffragist before the war, he had been impressed by Mrs. Pank- 
hurst’s truce to militancy. Early in the war, Annie Kenney and Grace 
Roe had conferred with him on aspects of war work. He liked the 
brisk, efficient ways and earnest spirit of the Suffragettes whom he 
now knew for the first time. It was the end of his opposition to votes 
for women. He promised his support and that of his newspapers when 
the time of the votes for women settlement should come. 

The women’s munition procession was acclaimed as a triumph 
by the Press and all who witnessed it. Mrs. Pankhurst and her deputa- 
tion duly explained to Mr. Lloyd George, with whom stood another 
Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill, women’s demand to serve the 
^ By the Government. — Ed. 


country in the munition factories, and he only too gladly said yes. 
The needed atmosphere had been created, and the opposition made 
no sound ! 

The presence of women in the munition factories, later, prevented 
the threatened man-power strike, for the women simply announced 
that they would refuse to hold up the munitions supply and so leave 
the soldiers defenceless at the Front. They would go on working, even 
if the men went on strike. 

Our Suffragettes were to be found in every kind of war service. 
The two women doctors, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Flora 
Murray, who had devoted herself to the Suffrage prisoners of war, 
established a military hospital, first under the French Government in 
France, until the British Government were ready and anxious to 
utilize their service in London. Others were serving in Serbia and 
Roumania, in Italy, with other allied nations. 

The militant Suffrage movement had given women new confidence 
in their capacities, new power to undertake difficult tasks. The Suffra- 
gette spirit had become generalized and expressed itself in women’s 
war service. 1 never knew we had such women,’ exclaimed a Liberal 
Cabinet Minister. He ought to have known it, for such women had 
been battling with him and his Government for women’s right to 
political service. 

The action of Mr. Lloyd George in opening the war factories to 
women, his readiness to turn for help in the national emergency to 
Mrs. Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, showed us that he was in earnest 
in the country’s cause. When he became Prime Minister we supported 
him as the national leader. We had confidence in his will to win. With- 
out in the least forgetting the possibility of an eventual resumption of 
the Suffrage fight, we gave his Government our loval support for the 
duration of the war. We increasingly believed, however, that the 
political opposition to votes for women was at an end and that the 
Suffragette armistice would end not in the resumption of the former 
hostilities but in the enfranchisement of women. 

Two foreign missions were undertaken by Mrs. Pankhurst during 
the war — self-chosen, not official missions. Her sympathy for the 
smaller nations, whether Belgium in the west or Serbia in the east, 
was strong, and she went to the United States to raise funds for 
Serbian relief. 

Russia she visited after the Revolution, during the regime of 



Kerensky, with whom she had an interview. Her stay in Petrograd 
and Moscow and her conversations with many interesting personalities 
gave her a full harvest of information and impressions. 

On her return to London she saw the Prime Minister and pre- 
dicted to him the early end of Kerensky’s rule and the succession of 
the present regime. Her first and only visit there had shown her the 
end of the old and the beginning of the new Russia. 

Votes for women came in wartime. War conditions had shattered 
the electoral register and Parliament must attend to the franchise 
before it could be re-elected. The franchise could not be touched 
without giving votes to women, because Mrs. Pankhurst and her 
Suffragettes would resume militancy as soon as the war was ended, 
and no Government could arrest and imprison women who, in the 
country’s danger, had set aside their campaign to help the national 
cause. The ‘Cat and Mouse’ Act could never be used again; forcible 
feeding was ended. The men voters would not have tolerated any 
more coercion of the women who had shown themselves as true to 
their country as to their own cause. Indeed, if the men voters had 
tolerated it, the women themselves would not. The resumption of 
militancy would have found thousands of new recruits joining the 
militant ranks and even before the war women had proved their 
power, by their own unaided exertions, to place any Government that 
resisted their just claim in an impossible position. 

Mrs. Pankhurst at the onset of the war had written: ‘In the black 
hour that has just struck in Europe, the men are turning to their 
women and calling on them to take up the work of keeping civiliza- 
tion alive. In all the harvest fields and orchards women are gamering 
food, for the men who fight as well as for the children left fatherless 
by the war. In the cities, the women are keeping open the shops, 
driving trucks and trains and attending to a multitude of business.’ 
When the war ended would men, she asked, forget the part that 
women had taken, as they had forgotten it after previous wars.^ For 
the present, the struggle for the vote was in abeyance, but it was not 
abandoned. ‘But one thing is reasonably certain,’ she wrote; ‘the 
Cabinet changes which will necessarily result from warfare will make 
future militancy on the part of women unnecessary. No future Govern- 
ment will undertake the impossible task of cmshing or even delaying 


the march of women towards their rightful heritage of political 

Cabinet changes did in fact occur in wartime, as Mother antici- 
pated, and they eased the situation. Mr. Lloyd George, the Prime 
Minister, and Mr. Bonar Law, his partner in control of national affairs, 
were both avowed supporters of the principle of women's enfranchise- 
ment and in that sense had nothing to retract. Mr. Lloyd George, who 
in the pre-war days had resisted the smaller measure of votes which 
would then have given us a political foothold and opened the door for 
more, now had the power to give us the larger measure which had 
been unobtainable in the former political conditions. It was now his 
turn to advise against wider and still, said he, impracticable demands. 
An echo of past history sounded in Mr. Lloyd George's assurance that 
woman suffrage would appear in the Franchise Bill as first introduced 
and not be left to be added by amendment. Mrs. Pankhurst held rather 
aloof from the negotiations that attended the Speaker's Conference of 
members of all parties to consider franchise reform generally and 
woman suffrage in particular. She and I believed that a certain detach- 
ment on our part would give more effect to the potential, post-war 
militancy which it was the aim of political leaders to avert. We there- 
fore left it to others to discuss such points as the differential age limit 
for women voters, designed to prevent them from becoming at once 
an electoral majority. 

Mother did, however, join the deputation of women's societies to 
the Prime Minister on 17th March and thanked him in the name of 
the Women's Social and Political Union for having made it possible 
for the question of woman suffrage to be dealt with in a practical way. 
‘I want to assure you,’ she said, ‘that whatever you think can be passed, 
with the least discussion and debate, we are ready to accept.' Mr. 
Lloyd George explained that he had that morning had a draft Bill 
prepared so that there would be no loss of time in that respect. ‘The 
attitude of the Government with regard to woman suffrage,' he said, 
‘will be this: that they leave the question of votes for women as an 
open question. As far as the Government are concerned the majority 
will vote for the retention of the Women's Suffrage in the Measure. 

‘We take the responsibility of conducting the Bill through the 
House of Commons, but the Measure itself is a House of Commons 
Measure, which every section of the Commons is equally responsible 
for. It is not quite in the same category as an ordinary Government 



Bill. That is the attitude we have taken up, because we feel it essential 
that it should be regarded very largely as an agreed Measure between 
all sections of the House.’ 

In due course Parliament passed the Measure, with votes for 
women included. Opposition had vanished. Mr. Asquith declared him- 
self a convert, with admission of past blindness like that wherewith 
Stesichorus was smitten for insulting Helen of Troy. In the House of 
Lords former opponents also supported the Measure. The Royal assent 
was given. 

The fifty years’ story, with its militant last chapter, had a happy 
ending. The vision of the pioneers, the persistence of those who 
followed them during the long middle period, the sacrifice of the 
militants, had been rewarded. Women at last were citizens and voters. 

Seats in Parliament had been thrown in for good measure when 
the vote was granted to women. Little time remained before the en- 
suing General Election in which women could find and win a con- 
stituency. No woman sat at first in the new Parliament. Some had made 
the eleventh-hour attempt, including myself. We felt that if a woman 
were elected to Parliament the opinion of women who had served in 
war-time might be better heard at the Peace Conference. However, the 
conditions were too adverse at that early stage. Later the first woman, 
Lady Astor,^ was elected to the House of Commons. Many others 
have been elected since and their number will grow. The presence of 
women in the House of Commons signalizes the great change that has 
taken place in the position of women. 

We had pictured national rejoicing, a great public celebration of 
our Votes for Women victory. It had come in time of public mourning 
and deepening war danger. Our only celebration of women’s en- 
franchisement was a greater devotion to war service in defence of the 
country in which we now were citizens and in defence of the national 
and constitutional liberties in which women now had obtained their 

^ Lady Astor was the first woman to take her seat as M.P. Countess Markievicz had 
been returned at the previous General Election but as a Sinn Feiner had refused to come to 
Westminster. — Ed. 


Mrs. Pankhurst’s Last Years 

T he World War was over. The peace was signed. The women’s 
war was over. The vote was won. A chapter of world history 
had closed. A new chapter was opening. 

Mrs. Pankhurst had finished the task to which she had set her 
hand. Women were politically free. She had done her part during the 
war and its aftermath. She stood now at a dividing point of past and 
future. A vital decision had to be made. Should the movement and 
organization she had founded and led for so many years be kept in 
being.^ The loyal and courageous women who had shared her hard 
campaign had done so for an object that was now achieved. Unbreak- 
able bonds of memory, and thankfulness for victory, united the Suffra- 
gettes one to another and to their leader. But new issues arising would 
not find them all necessarily of the same opinion. 

Since militancy began, Mother and I had never left the captain’s 
bridge- The burdens of responsibility had been manifold. While the 
vote was at stake and war service needed, we had faced and dared the 
responsibility, but was it wise to do so after the vote was gained and 
the war emergency over.^ We decided not. 

Even on a reduced scale the maintenance and leadership of a move- 
ment which could effectually influence national policy in the time to 
come, as the W.S.P.U. had influenced it in the past, must require some 
thousands of pounds annually. The unblinking political vigilance and 
continuous striving of many years had brought their result. A great 
reform had been accomplished. 

The organization was dissolved, leaving only its record of perfect 
victory. We were glad to be able to settle its outstanding liabilities. 

Mother decided that she would go to the United States and Canada 
for a longer tour than she had been able to make in the past. This time 




there would be no need for her to come back after a few weeks to lead 
a Suffrage deputation and go to prison. Mother had much to contribute 
in the after-war era. She would surely return to the political sphere 
with the fruits of her observation of conditions in the New World. 
Her long and varied political experience, her influence with women 
and her understanding of their needs made her an authority on home 
affairs. Her touch with the Continent, her friendship with the American 
people and her intimate knowledge of Canada would give her insight 
into Imperial and foreign affairs. 

Her absence was prolonged beyond expectation. Then she began 
to write of staying in Canada indefinitely. In the changed conditions 
of the time her plans had to be changed. Naturally, also, there was 
in Canada a strong desire to keep Mrs. Pankhurst and to call for her 
counsel and service. The Canadian Social Hygiene Council, centred 
in Toronto, asked and won her co-operation. She had no official con- 
nection with the Government of the Dominion. But Mother loved 
Canada and Canada loved her. She seemed to know every comer of 
the Dominion and everywhere had friends. Miss Pine, her nurse and 
friend in the days of the ‘Cat and Mouse’ ordeal, had crossed the 
Atlantic with her and spent several years there — an exile for love’s 
sake, as I used to call her, for she longed for home — ^watching over 
Mother’s health and helping her in every way. I eventually followed, 
going first to the United States and then to Canada. There I joined 
Mother; we had a quiet home and were happy in Toronto, city of 
churches, trees, and kind hearts. 

For all her activities and her interest in Canadian affairs Mother 
missed her legions, the women whose love and loyalty had heartened 
her through the Suffragette years, as they missed her presence and the 
great and inspiring days that had ended. She was glad of a gift made 
to us as a reminder of the unbroken bond forged in the past. She was 
not one to live in the past, however. The present, with its claims, the 
future, with its tasks not yet begun, were her concern and in this she 
showed her managing spirit. She could not rest upon her laurels, re- 
fight old battles, dwell upon past victory. Her look was ever forward. . . . 

Mother Was looking very tired and worn. A prospect of meetings 
in the Maritime Provinces, in far from warm weather, was before her. 

I feared one of the chills which, so rare with her, seemed, when they 
came, to affect her the more. Complete rest, change, warmth, were 
what she needed. 


At Toronto's famous annual exhibition, she had noticed, once, 
the Bermuda exhibit and had fallen in love with the place as thus 
presented. To Bermuda she went. She spent a year there. It appealed 
to her as had Victoria in the far West. The beauty, warmth and peace 
were good for her; she made many friends. 

She did not return to Canada. Bermuda was a step on the way 
home. . . . She had left England for six months and returned after as 
many years. 

She joined her sister Ada in London and considered political con- 
ditions. Changes were many. A new generation of women had grown 
up since the vote was won. 

Mother recognized that the interplay of political forces was tending 
to an enlargement of the women's vote and that the limitation im- 
posed ten years ago would soon be removed. The door of citizenship 
being already open to women, it would open wider still. 

Mrs. Pankhurst’s concern, on re-entering politics in the Mother 
Country, was mainly with the constructive use of the vote. To 
strengthen the British Empire and draw closer together its lands and 
peoples was a cause especially dear to her. 

After deep thought she decided to identify herself with the Con- 
servative Party, perhaps because she felt that if construction could be 
duly combined with conservation, this would most nearly meet the 
national need. She became a Parliamentary candidate for Whitechapel. 
She might well have been elected to Parliament by acclamation and 
agreement between voters of all parties and no party, as a sign of 
political reconciliation between men and women, between the post- 
war and pre-war eras. She would have left in Parliament a mark of 
value for all time. 

Having chosen the political course she judged right, she devoted 
herself to her new task with all her strength. In many parts of the 
country, as well as in her own constituency, she spoke with the power 
that had stirred people in the great days of the Votes for Women 

The Government now resolved to remove the remaining restraints 
upon women's enfranchisement and a Bill for this purpose was 

At a meeting in the Albert Hall, Mother moved the vote of thanks 
to Mr. Baldwin, then Prime Minister, in a speech which charmed and 
electrified thousands who, many of them, had never before seen or 



heard the Mrs. Pankhurst of whom they had read in the days of the 
militant campaign. They marvelled to find what manner of woman she 
was, who had toiled so long, fought so hard, suffered so much for 
Votes for Women which a Conservative Prime Minister was now 
giving in full measure. When they saw and heard her, and knew her 
for what she was, they felt the pity of the long misunderstanding of 
her and the loss, through so many years, of the stateswoman’s power 
which should have been used for great national ends. They acclaimed 
her that night as a great citizen. 

Determined to make the best fight she could to win Whitechapel, 
Mother decided to take rooms there and spend a few days in each week 
working among the people. 

She longed to change the conditions of poverty existing for so 
many, and the people would have found in her a faithful represent- 
ative, who would have brought her woman’s point of view to bear 
on their problems. 

Present effort and all the long struggle of the past seemed all at 
once to overwhelm her. She took to her bed. She would rest and be 
medically overhauled — she was going to be ‘better than she had been 
for years’. 

But instead of being better she appeared to get worse. It was an 
illness. She was moved, by medical advice, to a nursing home. She 
spoke much of ‘your father and Harry’ — ^her ‘greatest griefs’, she said, 
and she had never recovered from them. She had always been silent 
about things too deep for words, but she spoke more of them now 
than she had ever done. She said only good and peaceful things about 
persons and happenings. She was showing how completely free she 
was from bitterness, after the struggle of the past, how serenely con- 
tent with victory. She was expressing again what she had said to us a 
year before: ‘After all, I have had a wonderful life.’ 

She was very gentle and thoughtful of others. She was a brave 
patient, ready to try everything advised. But strength was ebbing in 
the body she had driven so hard in the service of her ideals; her finely 
harmonized and balanced physical constitution had its limits. It was 
as though the weakness and illness brought by hunger-and-thirst- 
strikes had been postponed when war broke out, that she might plunge 
into war service, and had now come to reckon with her after all those 
years. Yet she was so vital. I could not think of her dying. Mother 
would always be in our world, whoever went from it. She looked 


better, her colour was fresh and I thought she was going uphill 
again. ‘She will be a great loss,’ I heard the doctor say. Then I knew. 

The rain fell that night with drenching sound, as though the skies 
were weeping for her. She was unconscious for hours, just breathing. 
The Twenty-third Psalm gave, as we read it, its message for her and 
for us. The rain had ceased. She died as the day came, with her face 
to the morning sky. 

After death, there was joy in her face and she looked as young 
again as though it were her bridal day. . . . 

The House of Lords passed the final measure of Votes for Women 
in the hour her body, which had suffered so much for that cause, was 
laid in the grave. She, who had come to them in their need, had stayed 
with the women as long as they still might need her, and then she 
went away. 



Christabel Pankhurst’s text ends as it began — on a personal note. She 
no doubt felt that with the winning of the vote and the passing of the 
mother she loved so well the tale she had set out to write had been 
told. But it was thought that many readers might wish to have in the 
form of a postscript a brief summary to date of the fruits of the 
political victory. 

As mentioned in Chapter 17, the measure which received the Royal 
Assent on the 6th of February 1918 did not put women on a footing 
of full equality with men in the matter of the parliamentary francise. It 
limited that right in two ways. First, it did not give the vote to women 
under thirty years of age. Secondly, only those women over thirty 
who were either themselves Local Government electors or the wives of 
men so qualified were placed on the register of parliamentary electors. 
Roughly it gave the vote to some eight million women as against some 
thirteen million men. It was admittedly a compromise and it was as 
such that it was accepted by the women’s societies. 

At first, very few women secured entry into the House of 
Commons as provided for in the other Act of 1918. But the number 
elected has gradually increased and now (May 1959) stands at 28 out 
of a total number of over 600 M.P.s A much larger proportion of 
women are members of Local Authorities, notably of the London 
County Council. 

On the 23rd of December 1919 Royal Assent was given to the 
Sex Disqualification Removal Act and in consequence women were 
enabled among other things to take degrees at all the Universities of 
the U.K., to become solicitors, to be admitted to the Bar examinations 
and if successful in them to practise as barristers. It was anticipated 
that the House of Lords would also admit those women who are 
Peeresses in their own right; but this did not happen and women 




remained excluded from the Upper House until the door was opened 
to Life Peeresses in 1958. 

Progressively women secured entry into all grades of the Civil 
Service; and teaching hospitals admitted women as medical students 
with the right to become doctors when qualified. Very large numbers 
have taken advantage of these facilities. 

The inclusion of women as electors has had a striking influence on 
the character of legislation. This is particularly true of matters affecting 
the health of women and children, with astonishing results in the 
reduction of infantile and maternal mortality. The marriage laws have 
also been drastically changed in women’s favour. 

In 1927 Mr. Baldwin decided to bring in a Bill giving the parlia- 
mentary franchise to all women on precisely the same terms as men. 
This was carried through Parliament without any serious opposition 
and received the Royal Assent on the 2nd of July 1928. 

In 1930 a statue of Mrs. Pankhurst — a speaking likeness — ^which 
had been subscribed for by her admirers, was erected in the Victoria 
Tower Gardens and was unveiled by Mr. Baldwin who expressed his 
appreciation of her life and work. A few words were added by myself. 

Since that time the progress in the status of women has gone 
forward with increasing speed. When the Second World War struck 
the country the help of women was eagerly sought after in every field 
and willingly given. In each of the three defence services women have 
now an integrated part. The marriage bar to Government service has 
been removed — equal pay for equal work is, by stages, in course of 
realization. Very few legal disabilities still remain and, what is at least 
equally important, the prejudice against the advancement of women’s 
status in public and private life is steadily disappearing. 

Nearly all the man-made obstacles have therefore been removed 
to the equal opportunity for women to devote themselves, if they so 
desire, to activities outside the home. It remains true, as they them- 
selves recognize, that one of the greatest services that women and only 
women can render to human society is the bearing and nurture of the 
coming generation. 

The essential thing is that women are free today, as never before in 
human history, to order their own lives. To what ends.^ I am the last 
to minimize what they have already accomplished both for themselves 
and for their children since power was given to them. I recognize that 
their influence has tended to humanize national and local institutions. 



But is that to be all? Does their responsibility end there? They have de- 
manded and obtained equal sovereignty with men over the whole field 
of human governance. Have they any new contribution to make to the 
problems that all down the ages have beset mankind and to those now 
looming up so threateningly in this second half of the twentieth 

There are ancient traditions of women’s wisdom. Are these just 
myths of the past? Or have they any counterpart in the modem world 
of objective fact? No one knows the answer to this question. Only 
the future will give it, as one by one the scrolls of human destiny are 
unwound. But all those still living today who paid the price for 
women’s freedom wait and watch anxiously for this answer and pray 
that it may be one for the healing of mankind. 


Aberdeen, Lord, 225 
Aberdeen Free Press, 8y 
Acheson, Viscountess, 205 
Adam, Madame Edmond, 18 
Ainsworth, Laura, 141 
Albert Hall, 05, 114 

meeting after Conspiracy trial, 216 
Rally (1905), 59-<So 
Woman Suffrage meeting (1908), 89 
W.S.P.U. meeting before ‘rebellion*, 

Aldwych Theatre, 124 
Alexander, Professor, 40 
Alexandra, Queen, 15 1 
Allen, Janie, 192, 279 
AUen, Mary, 123 
American Suffragists, 259 
Anderson, Elizabeth Garrett, 291 
Anderson, Dr. Louisa Garrett, 55, 164, 
165, 251 

Anthony, Susan B., 29 
Anti-Suffragist group, 158 
Ashton, Lord, 128 
Ashton, Margaret, 127 
Asquith, Herbert, 59, 65, 72, 73, 74, 85, 
90> 92, 94, 95, 9<5, 97, 99, ^01, 102, 
107, 114, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 
130, 155, 161, 166, 176, 177, 178, 179, 
182, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 194, 
200, 206, 213, 236, 264 
and the Conciliation Bill, 157-64 
at Birmingham, 138 
at Dundee, 239 
at Sheffield, 127 

converted to women's suffrage, 294 
dissolves Parliament, 164 
Dublin meeting, 222-3 
memorial to, on forcible feeding, 140 
on the Woman Suffrage Bill, 92-3 
pursued at Lympne, 137 
pursued on holiday, 128-9 
receives East End women, 280 
refuses time for Woman Suffrage Bill, 

remarks on women's franchise, 221 
shaken by suffragette, 220 
Astor, Lady, 294 

Athenaeum Library, 16 
Australia supports women's suffrage in 
England, 172 

Ayrton, Mrs. Hertha, 165, 251 
Ayrton, Phyllis, 269 

Baines, Mrs., 113 

released from prison, 225 
tried by jury, 114 
Baldock, Mrs., 87, 98 
Baldwin, Stanley, 92, 297, 301 
Balfour, Arthur, 49, 58, 124, 132, 149, 
150, 162, 176, 177, 221, 269 
Balfour, Lady Betty, 189, 205 
Balfour, Gerald, 123 
Baring, Hon, Mrs. Guy, 205 
Barrett, Rachel, 248 
Barwell, Ellen, 141 
Battle of Downing Street, The, 167 
Beck, Edith, 279 
Beck, Ellen, 279 
Becker, Lydia, 26 
Belmont, Mrs. O. H. P,, 136 
Bennett, Curtis, 76, 108 
Bennett, Miss, 241 
Bess, Aunt (Bess Goulden), 20 
Bill of Rights, 129, 138, 242 
Billington, Teresa, 45, 55, 62, 65, 68, 71 
Billington-Greig, Mrs., 83 
Bingley Hall, 138 

Birmingham: roof struggle, 139; siege at, 

Birmingham Daily Mail, 138 

Birrell, Augustine, 127, 173, 175, 177, 220 

Black Friday, 165, 192 

Blatch, Mrs. Stanton, 29, 30, 147 

Bletchley meeting, 136 

Blomfield, Sir Arthur, 277 

Blomfield, Eleanor, 277 

Blomfield, Mary, petitions the King, 277 

Bloomfield, Mr., 33 

Blotter, The, 245 

Boggart Hole Clough, 33 

Boulogne-sur-Mer, 217 

Boyd, Mrs. Janet, 192 

Brackenbury, Georgina, 78, 87, 165 

Brackenbury, Marie, 78, 87 




Brackenbury, Mrs., 201, 252 
Brady, Phyllis, 252 
Brailsford, H. N., 141, 151 
Brailsford, Jane (Mrs. H, N.), 143, i6z, 192 
Bright, Jacob, 19, 29, 236 
Bright, Mrs. Jacob, 29 
Bright, John, 19, 107, 109, 213 
Bristol Times and Mirror ^ 1 29 
British Medical Journal^ 252 
Broke, Lady Willoughby de, 205 
Broke, Lord Willoughby de, 271 
Brougham, Lord, 198 
Brown, E. Vipont, 140 
Brown, Kathleen, 143 
Brown, Mrs. Sadd, 192 
Bryant, Violet, 143 
Bryce, James (Lord), 29 
Burkitt, Hilda, 141 

Bums, John, 60, 85, 107, 134, 169, 192, 221 
Bums, Lucy, 136 
Buxton, Charles, 85, 86 
Chelmsford, 118 
Cockermouth, 68 
Croydon, 124 
Dundee, 91 
Glasgow, 123-4 
Haggerston, 98 
Huddersfield, 72 
Ipswich, 273 
Leeds, 86 
Leith, 267 
Mid-Devon, 86 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, 100 
North-West Manchester, 90-1 
Peckham, 89-90 

Calton Gaol, 267 

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, 58, 64, 
91, 92 

Canadian Social Hygiene Council, 296 
Canterbury, Archbishop of, 262 
Capper, Mabel, 14 1 
Carnegie, Andrew, 181 
Carson, Sir Edward, 125, 205, 207, 219, 220, 
225, 230, 239, 255, 256, 258, 263, 267, 
268, 269, 271, 273, 275, 282, 284 
‘Cat and Mouse* Act, 242, 243, 246-8, 277, 
278, 281, 282, 292 

effect of, 250-8, 260, 262, 272, 274, 275, 

Cave, Bertha, 42 

Caxton Hall, 62, 75,81, 103, 105, 131, 166 
Cedi, Lord Hugh, 161, 176 
Cecil, Lord Robert, 133, 185, 242, 247 
Chaniberlain, Austin, 132, 269 
Chamberlain, Joseph, 109, 206, 263 
Chelmsford by-election, 118 

Chorlton upon Medlock, 32 
Churchill, Lord Randolph, 236 
Churchill, (Sir) Winston, 46, 53, 56, 57, 
94, 99, 121, 122, 149, 164, 166, 169, 

173, 177, 271, 290 

defeated at North-West Manchester, 

harassed by Suffragettes, 128 
City Liberal Club, 197 
Clarke, Mrs., 121, 170 
Clayton, Edwyn, 250 
Clement's Inn, headquarters of W.S.P.U., 
70, 77, 78, 105 
Clifford, Lady de, 205 
Clovelly Court, 128 
Clynes, J. R., 163 
Cobden, Richard, 71, 165 
Cobden Club, 99 
Cockermouth by-election, 68 
Codd, Clara, 106 
Coerdon Bill, 125 
Coleridge, Lord, 20, 21 1 
Colurch, 198 

Conciliation Bill, 152-64, 168, 171 173, 

174, 176, 178, i79» *81, 183, 185, 186, 
187, 193, 195, 196, 206, 222, 232, 234 

Conciliation Committee for Woman 
Suffrage, 151 etseq,^ 159, 160, 161, 162, 
163, 164, 168, 169, 179, 180, 183, 185 
Conservative party, 12, 47, 49, 68, 69, 148 
Conspiracy trials, 205-8, 243-4, 249-50, 
276, 285-6 
postponement, 208 
speeches for defence, 213 
Conway, Moncure D., 30 
Corbett, Mrs., 130 
Corrupt Practices Act, 25 
Cowdray, Viscountess, 205 
Craggs, Helen, attempted arson by, 231 
Craig, Captain, 284 
Crewe, Lord, X19, 120, 122, 127, 269 
Cromer, Lord, 194 
Croydon by-election, 124 
Curie, Madame, 165 
Curzon, Lord, 194 
Cushendcn, Lady, 130 

Daily ChronicUy 86, 165, 187, 271 
Daily CkronicUy Newcastle, 100 
Daily Dispatch^ 117 
Daily Mail, 62, 86 
Daily NewSy 92, 100, 151, 174 
leader writers resign, 141 
Daily Telegraphy 125, 200, 263 
Dallas, Irene, 121 

Davidson, Dr., Archbishop of Cantcibury, 


Davies-Colley, Margaret, 113 


Davison, Emily Wilding, 146, ^6^ 
and the Derby, 253-4 
Deputation Day, 129 
Derby, tragedy at the, 253-4 
Derry, rioting in, 258 
Despard, Mrs., 71, 105, 184, 189 
imprisoned, 76, 238 
leader of Women’s Freedom League, 83 
leads deputation, 75 
Diary ^ 269 
Dicldnson, Mrs., 42 
Dickinson, Sir Willoughby, 79 
Dickinson’s Bill, 79 
Dillon, John, 284 
Doves Press, 72 
Downing, Edith, 192, 193, 201 
Downing Street, Battle of, 167 
Drummond, Flora (The General), 54, 57, 
62, 64, 71, 78, 104, 238, 248, 267, 269 
cell at Bow Street, 105 
imprisoned, 238 
rearrested after illness, 280 
seven-days’ hunger strike, 273 
taken ill, 250 

Dublin trial, severe sentences on W.S.P.U. 

members, 224 
Dufaux, Fr^d^ric, 18 
Dundee by-election, 91 
Dundee protest at, 137 
Dunlop, Miss Wallace, 97, 106, 129, 130, 

imprisoned, 133 
Dupplin, Viscountess, 205 


Bates, Mrs., 124 
Edinburgh protest meeting, 267 
Edward, Mary, 141 
Edward VII, King, 1 5 1 
Elizabeth I, Queen, 33 
Ellis Island, 259 

Elmy, Mrs. Wolstenholme, 47, 55 
Emerson, Zelie, 272 
Emerson & Co., 27 
Epsom Police Court, 240 
Ervine, St. John, 90 
Esperance Girls* Club, 63 
Essex Hall, 82 
Evans, Gladys, 225, 231 
five-year sentence on, 224 
Evening News y 143, 187 

Fawcett, Mrs., 41, 83, 157, 165, 184, 188, 
189, 190, 230, 235, 237, 239 
Fenton, Dr. W. Hugh, 140, 252 
Flatman-Ansell, Miss, 106 
Forcible feeding, 140-1, 143, i44> 

149, 216, 217, 220, 221, 225, 231, 


243, 246, 247, 252, 263, -72, 273, 275, 
276, 277, 280, 285, 286 
Forcible Feeding Protest Committee, 284 
Fox, Mrs. Dacre, 272, 273, 284, 

Franchise Act (1867), 211 
Free Trade, 46, 99 

Free Trade Hall, 46, 49, 50, X03, 128 
‘welcome to prisoners’ meeting, 5 5 
Free Trade League, 46 
Fritli, Mary, 87 

Gardner, A. G., 59 fn. 

Gawthorpe, Mary, 71, 92 
General Election (1905), suffragette mani- 
festo, 57-8 

General Election (1910), 148, t68 et seq, 
George V, King, 171 

hears W.S.P.U. petition, 277 
Mrs. Pankhurst’s message to, 272 
Mrs. Pankhurst writes to, 266 
petition to, 242 

Gladstone, Herbert, 89, 97, 107, 109, 132, 
133 , I37> ii3 

blocks woman suffrage Bill, 21 
Gladstone, W. E., 19, 107, 109, 119, 206 
antagonism to woman suffrage, 1 1 
Glasgow: American members protest at, 
136; by-election, 123 
Glasgow Evening Citii^en^ 136 
Glasgow Record and MaUy 136 
Goldstein, Vida, 174 
Golfing^ 240 

Gore-Booth, Eva, 41, 42, 54, 189 
Gould, Mrs. Ayrton, 201 
Goulden, Ada, 26, 297 
Goulden, Bess, 20 

Goulden, Emmeline, 19 (jsee also Pank- 
hurst, Mrs. Emmeline) 

Goulden, Harriette, 20 
Goulden, John, 20 

Goulden, Mary, 17, 26, 28, 62, 79, 97, 147 
death of, 170 
Goulden, Robert, 1 5 
Goulding, Mr., 176 

Grey, Sir Edward, 22, 50, 51, 53, 119, 132, 
158, 164, 169, 173, 175, 177, 181, 182, 
193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 222, 223, 225, 

233 > ^ 35 , ^37 
Griffith, Ellis, 173, 17^ 

Guest, Dr. Haden, 284 
Gun-running, 271 
Gye, Elsa, 87, 123 

Haggerston by-election, 98 
Haig, Charlotte, 165 
Haig, Sir Douglas, 165 
Haig, Florence, 87, 97, 100 



Haldane, R. B. (Viscount), 29, 42, 85, 98, 
121, 134, 136, 159, 163, 196, 223 
Hall, Miss Leslie, 141 
Hall, Nellie, 241, 276, 285 
Hallett, Mrs, Ashworth, 55 
Halliburton, Professor, 225 
Hambling, Miss, 78 
Hamilton, Cicely, 174 
Hansen, Mrs. Coates, 68 
Harberton, Viscountess, 81 
Harcourt, Lewis, 85, 99, 102, 122, 169, 192, 

Hardie, Keir, 64, 132, 180 
Hardwicke Society, 89 
Harker, Mrs., 45 
Harriette, Aunt, 20 

Haverfield, Hon. Mrs., 130, 132, 133, 192 
Hay, Alexander, 140 
Healy, Tim, 216 

defence of Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, 213 
final speech at Conspiracy Trial, 214-15 
Henderson, Arthur, 163, 186, 187 
Henl6, Mr., 132, 133 
Hicks, Joynson, 57, 91 
Highbury Athenaeum, 113 
History of England^ 198 
Hobhouse, M.P., Mr., ‘incitement* speech, 
197-9, 199, 207, 212, 221, 222, 230 
Holland Park Hall W.S.P.U. meeting, 

Holmes, Mrs., 83 
Home Rule, 223, 226, 233 
Hopkinson, Sir Alfred, 40 
Horsley, Sir Victor, 140, 225, 284 
‘Hospitd treatment*, 140 
House of Commons, women members of, 

House of Lords, 148, 15 1 
Life Peeresses, 300 
House of Lords Veto, 160 
Housman, Miss Clemence, 97 
Howard, Geoffrey, 161 
Howey, Elsie, 100, 128, 144, 145 
How-Martyn, Mrs., 71, 83 
Huddersfield by-election, 72 
Hughes, Mrs. Hugh Price, 63 
Hunger-strikes, 133, 134, 135, 137, 143-4, 
216, 225, 231, 240, 241, 245, 251, 254, 
255, 261, 272, 273, 276, 281 
Hurst Park, burning of Grand Stand at, 

Hyde Park: banned to Suffragettes, 268; 
Women*s Day demonstrations, 95 

Industry, women in, 41 
Insurance Act, 235 

International Free Trade Congress, 99 
International Peace Conference, 99 

Ipswich by-election, 273 
Ireland, Home Rule, 24, 223, 226, 233 
Irish Conference, 284 
Irish TimtSy 223 

Isaacs, Sir Rufus (Lord Reading), 150, 212 
opening speech at Conspiracy Trial, 

Jameson raiders, 215 
Jarvis, Inspector, 131 
Joachim, Maud, 97, 100, 130 
’ones, Atherley, 247 
ones, D. Rhys, 140 
ones, Leif, 03, 179, 180 
ones, Winifred, 143 

Keegan, Mary, 87 
Keevil, Gladice, 87 
Kelley, Isabel, 137 

Kemp, Sir George, 171, 174, 176, 178 
Kenney, Annie, 44, 45,49, 5°, 52, 53 , 57 , 58, 
60, 65, 71, 87, 92, 157, 188, 204, 216, 
217, 222, 226, 227, 228, 234, 235, 248, 
249, 250, 272, 275, 276, 283, 290 
arrests, 65, 245, 256, 257-8 
arrives at meeting in clothes hamper, 

arrives in Paris, 208 
evades police, 270 
released under licence, 256-7 
seeks sanctuary at Lambeth Palace, 274 
sells ‘Cat and Mouse* licence for 
W.S.P.U. campaign, 255 
sends warning to Christabel, 203 
takes command at Lincoln’s Inn, 208 
‘The Blotter*, 245 
to London on £2, 61-2 
Kenney, Jessie, 62, 71, 77, 128, 250 
Kerr, Miss, 77, 248 
Kerwood, Mrs., 87 
Kettle, Mr., 166 
Kew, 240 
King, Joseph, 176 
Kite, Votes for Women, 104 
Knowles, Esther, 274 fn. 

Knyvett, Lady, 86 

Labour Party, 41, 69, 148 
Lake, Mrs., 248 
Lambert, Miss, 241 

Lansbury, George, 173, 176, 231, 248, 

Lansdowne, Lord, 273 

Law, Bonar, 207, 221, 225, 236, 239, 

255* ^<57, 274, 275, 284, 293 
Law, Hugh, 132, 176 
Lawless, Miss 123 



Leeds: by-election, 86; riot at, 113 
Leeds Mercury^ 86 

Leigh, Mrs. Mary, 97, 100, 119, 141, 223, 

five-year sentence on, 224 
released from prison, 226 
Leith by-election, 267 
Lennox, Miss, 248 
Lenton, Lillian, 241 
Letter-box protest, 256 
Liberal Government, 33, 46, 59, 61-74, 
2X2, 232, 248 

opposition to Suffragettes, 62 et seq. 
Liberal Party, 19, 54, 68, 69, 148 
loss of women members, 128 
Liberal Publications Office, 192 
Limehurst skirmish, 135-6 
Liverpool Echo, 127 

Lloyd George, David, 33, 60, 65, 98, 104, 
107, 108, 114-18, 119, 120, 122, 135, 
142, 158, 160, 161, 162, 173, 177, 179, 
180, 181, 185, 186, 188, 189, 191, 193, 
195, 196, 197, 209, 220, 221, 222, 226, 
233, 234, 237, 240, 267, 273-4, 289, 
291, 293 

appeal to Mrs. Pankhurst, 290 
Christabel Pankhurst, a political match 
for, 12 

house damaged by Suffragettes, 240 
refuses deputation, 238 
W.S.P.U. deputation to, 234-5 
Locke, Joyce, 241 
Logan, Miss, 97 
London, Bishop of, 271 
London University, 20 
Londonderry, Lord, 207 
Long, Walter, 207 
Lords Veto Bill, 174 
Los Angeles, 1 3 
Lucy, Sir Henry, 232 fn. 

Lutyens, Lady Emily, 145 
Lympne, 137 
Lytton, Earl of, 123 

Lytton, Lady Constance, 123, 141-6, 154, 
188, 192 

Lytton, Lord, 151, 154, 157, 159, 160, 161, 
163, 168, 182, 185, 186, 271 

Macaulay, Miss F. E., 264 
Macauley, Miss, 98 
MacDonald, Ramsay, 163 
Maclaren, Mrs. Bright, 55 
Majestic, S.S., 259 

Manchester and Salford Trades Union 
Council, 38 

Manchester Art Gallery, 245 
Manchester Committee for Woman Suff- 
rage, 26 

Manchester Courier, 56 
Manchester Guardian, 46, 56, 86, 1x5, X40, 
154, 160, 161, 178, 225, 250 
Manchester High School for Girls, 31 
Manchester School Board, 38 
Manchester School of Art, 37 
Manchester Women’s Trade Union Coun- 
cil, 41, 42 

Manhood Suffrage Bill, 191, 191, 197, 21 1, 

Manifesto against Suffragette militancy, 

Mansel, Mrs., 130, 275, 281, 283 
Mansell-Moullin, C., 140, 284 
Mansell-Moullin, Mrs., 192, 216 
Mappin, Mrs. Stanley, 205 
‘March of the Women’, 174 
Margesson, Lady Isabel, 267, 270 
Margesson, Miss, 130 
Marion, Kitty, 143 
Markham, Sir Arthur, 247 
Markievicz, Countess, 294 
Married Women’s Property Act, 20 
Marsh, Charlotte, 141 
Marshall, A. E. W., 141, 243 
Marshall, Mrs. Arthur, 192, 200, 205 
Martel, Mrs., 47, 62, 78, 86 
Martin, Selina, 144 
Masefield, John, 231 
Mason, Bertha, 128 
Mason, D. M., 247 
Mason, Mrs. Monck, 106 
Massey, Mrs., 78, 86, 170 
Matin, 91 

Mayo, Winifred, 87, 192 
McCarthy, Lillah, 205 
McCombie, Mrs., 230 fn. 

McCurdy, Mr., 241, 246, 247 
McIntosh, Dr., 284 

McKenna, R., 199, 200, 245, 263, 266, 278, 

McLachlan, Dr., 284 

McLaren, Lady, 158 

McNeill, Mrs. Ronald, 205 

‘Medical treatment’, 140 

Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, 71, 


Men’s Political Union, 71, 135, 195 
Methuen, Miss J. C., 55 
Mid-Devon by-^election, 86 
Militancy, 19 1-3, 245 > 276 

after-effects of Birmingham Protest, 

and non-militants, 83-4 
arrests, 87 et seq, 
assault of police, 132 
at Birmingham, 138 
at Dundee, 137-8 



Militancy — contd. 

chained in Ladies’ Gallery, 113 
Coronation chair damag^, 278 
debate on, 89 
deputations to Parliament, 75 -<j, 81, 
87-8, 96-8, 105-6, 1 20-1, 123, 129- 
35, 165-6, 167, 188-91, 192-3, 238 
during final struggle, 255 
effect on Press, 5 5-6 
evidence of success of, 91, 92 
financial, 70 

first imprisonment, 50-5 
first trial by jury, 114 
forcible feeding against, 140-6 {see also 
Forcible feeding) 
guerilla, 238 et seq, 
imprisonment of members, 71 et seq. 
in U.S.A., 136 
Leeds riot, 1 13-14 
manifesto against, 223 
motives for, 206 
of men at Limehouse, 135-6 
reasons for, 89 
‘Recital* under an organ, 127 
stone-throwing, 132 {see also Stone- 
strategy of, 153-4 
Suffragettes chained to statues, 125 
symbolic militancy abandoned, 226 
t^es a graver turn, 223 
the beginning, 46 
the Highbury bazaar, 1 1 3 
Trafalgar Square demonstration, 104-iz 
turns to rebellion, 228 
window-breaking, 136 
Mill, John Stuart, ii, 19, 65, 219 
Miller, Mrs. Fenwick, 29 
Molesworth, Mrs., 198 
Mond, Sir Alfred, 166 
Montagu, Mr., 221 
Moore, Eva, 205 
Mordan, Clare Evelyn, 119 
Morley, Lord, 98 
Morris, Mrs. William, 30 
Morrisey, Mrs., 45 
Morrison-Bell, Mr., 86 
Mott, Lucreda, 29 
Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, 225 
‘Mouse Castle*, 252 
Moxon, David, 284 
Murray, Dr. Flora, 251, 281, 291 
Murray, Sir James, 105, 289 
Muskett, Mr., 87 

Natiorty 90 

Nadonal Liberal Club, 181, 192 
National Union of Teachers Conference, 

Nadonal Union of Woman Suffrage 
Societies, 41, 83, 155 
Naylor, Miss, 87, 192 
Neal, Mrs. Mary, 63 
Neligan, Miss, 130, 165 
Nevinson, H. W., 141, 157, 167 fn. 

description of Deputation Day, 1 30 
New, Edith, 97, 100 
Newcastle Daily Chronicle^ 142 
Newcastle meeting, 141-6 
Newcastle-on-Tyne by-election, 100 
Nichols, Miss 71 

North of England Society for Woman 
Suffrage, 40-1, 119 
North Maily 100 

North-West Manchester elections, 56, 57, 

Northcliffe, Lord, 290 
Nottingham Castle, 198 
Nottingham Guardiany 193 
Nugent, Mrs., 144 

O’Connor, T. P., 232 
Old Age Pensions Act, 33, 235 
Oldham Trades Council, 44, 45 
Owen’s College, Victoria University, 20 

Pall Mall GaiettCy 90 
Pankhurst, Adela, 24, 37, 57? 7 1 
Pankhurst, Christabel, 24, 82, 188, 190, 
212, 215 

accused of lack of generalship, 253 
and break with Pethick-Lawrences, 13 
appealed to to return to London, 244-5 
at Bow Street, 105-12 
at Peckham by-election, 90 
attends Manchester University, 40 
campaign strategy, 12-13 
death, 13 

ejected from Asquith meeting, 73 
escapes police raid, 202-4 
first militancy, 46 
fugitive from police, 249 
imprisoned, 50-5, 76, 112 
in Geneva, 35 

in solitary command of W.S.P.U., 216 
letter to The Timesy 93 
passes Law final, 66 
plans control of W.S.P.U. from Paris, 

political flair, 12 

secretly returns to London, 227 

studies Law, 42-3 

told of raid on H.Q. while in Paris, 


Trafalgar Square demonstration, 104 
writes editorials from France, 


Pankhurst, Mrs. Emmeline, 47, 54, 77, 78, 
82, 119, 130, 133, 165, 166, 167, 170, 
206, 215, 249, 269 

account of Deputation Day arrest, 131 
accused of neglecting duties as Regis- 
trar, 79-80 

address to magistrate at Bow Street, 

after the great betrayal, 237-8 
and Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence, 63 
and the break with the Pcthick- 
Lawrences, 227-8 
arrests, 240, 259—62, 267, 281, 283 
at Bow Street, 105-12 
at Conspiracy Trial, 213-14 
at Mid-Devon by-election, 86 
at Newcastle by-election, loo-i 
becomes Registrar of Births and Deaths, 


‘brilliant generalship*, 60 

buys a shop, 26-7 

death, 298-9 

declares a truce, 148 

education, 16-17 

ejected from Asquith meeting, 74 

escapes police net, 256-7 

evades arrest, 264-6 

farewell reception after trial, 207 

foreign missions during war, 291 

goes to U.S.A., 147 

hunger-strikes, 216-17, 245 

imprisoned, 201 

in Canada, 193 

in Conciliation Bill procession, 155-6 
in Lancashire, 1 24 
in Paris, 16, 17-18 
in U.S.A., 30, 259 

inflicts damage in Downing Street, 200 
leads deputation to Parliament, 87 
letter to Asquith on Woman Suffrage 
Bill, loi 

letter to The Times, 281, 282 
licence sold for £100, 257 
loss of son, 147 

manifesto to W.S.P.U. members, 102-3 
marriage, 21-2 
national campaign, 125-6 
on Conciliation Bill, 153 
politics detrimental to business, 28 
prison sentence, 112 
reactions to husband's death, 36-9 
release from prison under Cat and 
Mouse Act, 25 1 
resigns Registrar’s post, 80 
return to and release from prison, 254 
returns from Canada, 196 
second visit to Canada^ z86 
statue of, 301 


supports militancy, 49, 50 
takes a cure abroad, 258 
three-year prison sentence, 244 
tours Canada and U.S.A., 295-6 
Trafalgar Square demonstration, 104 
visits Russia, 292 
visit to Paris, 217 

work in national war effort, 288-92 
writes to the King, 266 
Pankliurst, Francis Henry (Frank) 24, 27 
Pankhurst, Henry Francis (Harry), 37, 57, 
7 % 147 

Pankhurst, Dr. Richard Marsden, 19 
and Married Women’s Property Acts, 

and the Woman Suffrage Bill (1870), 21 
champion of women’s suffrage, 24 
death of, 35-6 
election campaigns, 24, 34 
marriage, 21-2 

Pankhurst, Sylvia, 24, 35, 37, 47, 56, 61, 
71, 241, 272, 280 
designs prison brooch, 124 
imprisoned, 76 
travelling art scholarship, 43 
Pankhurst family, 34 

and the Labour movement, 32-4 
return to Manchester, 31 er seq. 

Park, Annie, 87 
Parry, Lady Maud, 205 
Pavement-chalking, 67-8 
Paul, Alice, 136 
Peace Congress, 98 
Peacock, Sir Robert, 50, 51 
Peckham by-election, 89-90 
Pethick, Dorothy, 143 
Pethick, Marie, 192 

Pethick-Lawrence, Mrs. Emmeline, 67, 71, 
77, 82, 95, 97, 105, 1 18, 122, 123, 157, 
185, 189, 190, 215 

arranges transfer of W.S.P.U. funds, 

arrests, 123 -4, 192, 202 
comments on the Hobhouse ‘incite- 
ment’ speech, 198-9 
farewell reception before trial, 207 
financial responsibility for window- 
breaking, 205 

greetings on release from Holloway, 124 
hunger-strike, 216 
joins W.S^P.U., 63 

leads deputation to Downing Street, 188 
leads protest demonstration, 102 
letter read at Conspiracy Trial, 212 
letter to Lloyd Geo^e, 115 
powers of organization, 63 
recuperates in Canada after prison, 225 
refused bail, 206 



Pethick-Lawrence, Mrs. Emmeline — contd. 
release from Holloway, 199 
severs connection with W.S.P.U., 226 
warns of demonstration, 197 
Pethick-Lawrence, F. W. (Lord), 64, 67, 
71, 95 

arrested in police raid, 202 
defends at Leeds trial, 114 
edits Christabel Pankhurst's MS., 13 
finandal responsibility for window- 
breaking, 205 
hunger-strike, 216 
possession order against, 225 
recuperates in Canada after prison, 225 
refused bail, 206 

severs connection with W.S.P.U., 13, 

speech at Conspiracy Trial, 213 
Pethick-Lawrence, Lady (Helen), 230 fn. 
Phillips, Mary, 87, 100 
‘recital under organ, 127 
Pillar-box protests, 232 
Pine, Miss, 147, 203, 251, 296 
Pitheld, Ellen, 143, 224 
Pitman, Ellen W., 143 
Plural Voting Bill, 242 
Poincar^, M., 253 
Police Orphanage, 95 
Police Relief Fund, 95 
Ponsonby, Arthur, 18 j 
Poor Law Guardians, 32, 33 
Portman Rooms, 77 
Pratt, Hodgson, 28, 272 
Press and women's suffrage, the, 55-6, 

70, 78 

Press Association, 145 

Prison brooch, 124 

Prophets, Priests and Kings, 59 fn. 

Public Meetings Bill, 127 
Punch, 124, 271 

Queen's Hall, 77 

celebration of W.S.P.U. members’ re- 
lease from prison, 119 
ejection of men suffragists, 124 

Rebeluon, 228 et seq. 

Redmond, Mr., 284 
Redmond, Sir John, 223 
Redmond, Willie, 132 
Reform Act (1867), 2I9 
Reform Bill (1832), 194 
Reform Bill O867), 197 
Reform Bill (1884), 197 
Reform BiU (1912), 2x9 
Reform Club, Mandiester, 128 
Refdtoer's Tree, 67 

Regent's Park, 240 
Reinold, Mrs. 124 
Rhondda, Viscountess, 192, 256 
Richardson, Mary, 267, 285, 286 
Riddell, Lord, 205, 221, 234, 237, 269 
Rigby, Mrs., 87 
Roberts, Dr. H., 140 
Roberts, Lord, 268 
Robins, Elizabeth, 188, 216 
Rochefort, Henri, 18 
Rochefort, No^mie, 17, x8, 35 
Rochefort-Dufaux, Madame, 35 
Roe, Grace, 275, 276, 285, 286, 290 
arrested, 274 

executrix to Christabel Pankhurst, 13 
takes over W.S.P.U. control, 248^ 
Rokeby Venus ‘outrage', 267 
Roof struggle at Birmin^am, 139 
Roper, Esther, 40, 41, 42, 54 
Ross, Dr. F. W. Forbes, 140 
Rotherhithe election, 24-5 
Royal College of Surgeons, 140 
Runciman, Walter, 102, 142, 143, 173, 175, 

177, 197 

Rutzen, Sir Albert de, 169 

St. Andrew's Hail, Glasgow, 136 

St. Augustin, Place, 17 

St. Stephen's Hall aide-memoire to M.P.9, 


Salisbury, Lord, 173 
Samuel, Herbert, 137 
Sanders, Alderman, 248 
Sanders, Mrs., 77, 248 
Sanderson, Mr., 167 
Sanderson, Mrs. Cobden, 71, 165 
Satterley, Frances, 121 
Scantlebury, Inspector, 97, 13 1 
Scatcherd, Mrs. 29 
Schutz, Dr., 284 
Scott, Mrs., 45 
Selbome, Earl of, 173, 207 
Selborne, Lady, 189 
Shackleton, (Sir) David, 135, 163 
Shakespeare, heroines of, ii 
Shallard, Dorothy, 143 
Sharp, Evelyn, 192, 202 fn. 

Shaw, Mrs. Bernard, 188 

Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 127 

Sickert, Mrs. Cobden, 71 

Sidley, Mrs^ 87 

Simon, Sir John, 220, 221 

Smith, Adela, 136 

Smith, Miss Douglas, x 20, 121 

Smith, F. E. O^ord Birkenhead), 135, X79 

Smiffi, Margaret, X36 

Smith, Lady Sybil, 192, 193 

Smyth, Dame Ethel, 174, 201, 232 


3 ” 

Snowden, Philip, 159, 161, 163, 179, 180, 

Solomon, Daisy, 123 

Solomon, Mrs. Saul, 124, 130, 165, 20X 

Sparborough, Mrs,, 65 

Speaker’s ruling on Reform Bill, 236 

Stanger, H. Y., 89, 92 

Stanton, Mrs. Cady, 29, 30 

Stead, W. T., 56 

Steer, Janet, 192 

Stephenson, Jessie, 97 

Stevens, Doris, 136 

Stewart, Lady Isabel, 205 

Stone-throwing, 132-3, 221 

Stratford-Dugdale, Una, 123 

^Subjection of Women, The*, 11 

Suffragette, The, 249 fn., 250 


adverse effect on parliamentary candi- 
dates, 72 

and the Press, 70, 78 
at Birmingham, 138 
at Newcastle, 142 
chained in Ladies* Gallery, 113 
forming of Men’s Political Union, 135 
petition the King, 243 
pursue Churchill, 128 
questions of treatment in prison, 124 
the Coercion Bill, 125 
(See also Women’s Social and Pol- 
itical Union and Women’s Freedom 

Tariff Reform, 148 

Taylor, Hon, Mrs. Mona, 55, 121-2 

Thomas, Mrs. D. A., 279 

Thome, Will, 107, iii 

Times, The, 93, 95, 123, 140, 141, lAh 

162, 164, 184, 186, 196, 222, 276, 281, 

remedy for militancy, %ti 
'‘Toby, M.P.’, 232 

Tothill Street temporary H.Q. of W.S.- 

P.U., 274 

Touche, (Sir) George, 149, 177 
Townend, Caroline, 123, 147, 203 
Trafalgar Square, 104 
Treason Felony Act, 271 
Tuk^ Mrs., 67, 71, 77, 104, 188, 200, 206, 
216, 217, 226, 227, 283 
acquitted, 206 
imprisoned, «oi 

letter to W.S.P*U. member, 218 

Ulster, aoj, 107, * 39 . 

364, 366, x69, 27( , 

Unemployment, J3-4 ^ 

Unemployment Bill, 48 

Unemployment Insurance, 33 
Union Society, 42 
Unionist Party, 207, 271 
Unlawful Drilling Act, 215 
Unwin, Mrs. Cobden, 71 

Victoria Tower Gardens, 301 
Votes for Women, 49, 50, 60, <>4, 72, 73, 
1x7, 121, 128, 136, 13S, 284 
kite, 104 

success of campaign for, 292 
Votes for Women, 64, 77, 81 fn., 88, 98, 
126, 137, 167 fn., 198, 202, 206, 216, 
226, 249 fn. 

editorial staff arrested, 201 
Votes for Women Amendment, 233 

Walker, Mrs. 280 
Walton Gaol, 144 
Walton Heath, 240 

‘Warton, Jane’ (Lady Constance Lytton), 

144, MS, *46, 151 

Wells, Superintendant, 97, 107, 13 1 
Welsh Disestablishment, 161 
Wentworth, Vera, 100, 128 
West Gordon election, 34 
West London Mission, 63 
Westminster Gazette, 150, 271 
Williams, Aneurin, 155 
Williams, Ivy, 42 
Wilson, President, 259 
Window-breaking, 192, 200, 204, 272, 
insurance companies and, 205 
Winslow, Forbes, 140 
Winson Green Gaol, 140 
Wolmer, Viscount, 179, M7 
Wolmer, Viscountess, 205 
Woman Suffrage Amendment, 197, 236 
Woman Suffrage Bill, 55, 89, 91, 92 
talked out, 47 

Woman Suffrage Bill (1870), 21 
Woman Suffrage Societies, 173 

future responsibilities, 302 
influence on character of legislation, 

status in human society, 1 1 
today, 301 

Women Trade Unionists, 189 
‘Women’s Bloodless Revolution’, 222 
Women’s O>nvention, 96 
Women’s Day, 95 
Women’s Enfranchisement Bill, 79 
ts^d out, 80 

Women’s Franchise League 29 
Women’s Freedom League, 83, 113, 189, 



Women’s Liberal Association, 74, 114 
questions Asquith on woman suffrage, 85 
Women's Liberal Federation, 69, 158, 193 
Women's Parliament, 75-8^ 85-9, 122 
Women's Polidqil Associs^tion of Victoria, 

Women's Political Union of America, 147 
Women's Social and Political Union 
(W.S.P.U 0 
and the Press, 70 

Annie Kenney sells ‘Cat and Mouse^ 
licence for, 255 
arrests (1908), 87 

breach with the Pethick-Lawrences, 13, 

code names, 206, 212 
constitutional activities, 127 
control transferred to Paris, 209 
Cofbnation procession, 184-5 
declares an armistice in 1914, 288 
deputation to the King, 274 
dispute over management, 81-3 
independence of political parties, 68 
expansion of, 77 
finances, 277-9 
financial militancy, 70 
first demonstration in London, 62 

founding of, 44 
headquarters raided, 274 
influence at Mid-Devon by-election, 86 
manifesto (1908), 102-3 
members imprisoned, 71 
Mrs. Pethick-Lawrence joins, 63 
non-militant demonstration, 150 
organizers, 126 
police raids on, 201-2, 248 
policy at by-elections, 78 
political impartiality, 90 
sense of humour, 98^) 
spirit of the movement, 77 
thanks Lloyd George for Franchise Bill, 

transfers to Lincoln's Inn House, 218-19 
Triumvirate, 63 
Woodlock Patricia, 141 
release from Holloway, 129 
Wright, Ada, 106, 165 

defence of stone- throwing, 134 
Wylie, Barbara, 267 
Wylie, L A. R., 284 

Yates, Lamartine, 123 
Yorkshire Telegraphy 127